Ona Greenberg :: Artist Portraits

Ona and I met at a neighborhood bar on a cold, rainy night in SE Portland two years ago. We spoke about what we do, in terms of what we truly enjoy doing. Ona is a painter, tattooer and comic artist. Although I haven’t seen her since we met, we have followed each other’s work on Instagram and it has been awe-inspiring to observe how much she has progressed already.

Two years later, Ona and I meet for coffee in her apartment. The early Autumn sunrise washes a gold bath of light through the windows, illuminating her artwork on the wall — mostly of which are paintings of her friends. She explains that identify is a common theme with these pieces.

Ona is currently working towards her legal credentials to tattoo in Oregon. She is working hard to learn, evolve, and further define herself as a unique artist in Portland. She is genuine and sweet but won’t take no shit. Definitely take a moment to check her out:

Website: onagreenberg.com

Instagram: missngnmbr

The Arrival of Ace :: Documentary Family

I aim to capture images like the pictures we hold as memories in our mind ... the distant hum of laughter, frustrated dialogues, glowing chaos, and that everlasting subtle stillness where love beams through it.

Phil gets Shanghaied :: Documentary Family

My friend Chelsey had the idea to surprise her husband (Loren) while he was away on a trip. He had wanted updated photos of his family, so this was the perfect opportunity. Luckily, I was available and made a trip to beautiful Astoria, set along the majestic Columbia River near the Oregon Coastline.

I drove up and spent the day with her, their 7-month-old son Phil (who is constantly amazed by the world), and their sweet, talented, and personable 11 year old daughter Dylan.

Chelsey's husband is a well-known tattoo artist in town, and he and his business partner currently run a clean and classic parlor called Shanghaied Tattoo. It started with my boyfriend joking around about taking their baby to the parlor to "get a tattoo," which soon turned into a goofy plan. It gave us something fun to do on a sleepy, cloudy Sunday and would make for some memorable images of the family business once this tiny baby grows up quickly.

When we arrived, Phil took a huge poop in his diaper, and Loren's business partner (Chris) gave Phil his honest thoughts. "Man, I can't believe we are friends." I appreciated the gallery wall of Loren's artwork above the leather couch in the entrance, so we propped Phil up on the couch while he flopped around like a pancake in a pan. Mom hid behind the couch incase he decided to take a head dive. 

Finally, Chelsey applied one of the shop's fake tattoos to Phil's arm, which made him briefly upset. Nothing the boob couldn't fix. Then it was time for Chris to get the sketchy baby tattoo stage rigged up. He made the gun look suspicious by binding it with several rubber bands (something he said Loren would appreciate). We placed Phil in the big chair and he "got his tattoo" .. but really chewed on the arm of the chair, stared at the gun, and smiled at all of us while we made goofy faces. I think he really enjoyed it.

As we were leaving, Chris suggested the family pose as most customers do once they get Shanghaied: the shop in the background, Chris last minute photo-bombing. It was all smiles until Phil bit down on his big sister's finger at the last second, which tied it all together perfectly. 

 

Brighton Place :: Artist Profile

I met Dani some years ago when she first moved to Portland from the region we both hail from: the Midwest. Her easy humor and aspirational outlook made it super easy to connect with her. We kept in touch mostly through the Internet, as we are both busy pursuing our independent lives as working artists. She recently asked me to photograph her in her studio, located in Portland's rustic NE Industrial Zone. The historic brick building is a modest gem among the massive industrial warehouses, old mills and wispy train tracks. A green barge parked on the Willamette River was the first thing I noticed walking to the back of the building. Suddenly, I looked up to a breathtaking 180-degree-view of downtown Portland— a panorama so good, it should be kept a secret. The skyline twinkled between the rusty chain-linked fence and barbed-wire along the river. Beams of gold light occasionally sprung from heavy rain clouds, making the wet asphalt sparkle. It seemed nobody was in the area, other than just us.

The downstairs studio of Brighton Place was like entering the concrete version of a middle school girl's bedroom. There were old drawings, notes and crafts scattered around the shop, along with funny lists and messages (both productive order and goofing off). She explained how some of the “funny” original sketches from notebooks that she drew with her sister when they were kids has influenced her current designs (such as the mouth necklaces). “They bring back fun memories of that time and I want to share that old school girly vibe through my craft.”

Dani's big smile and quick wit are no mistake on how seriously she takes her work. In addition to a full time job, she spends several hours laboring away in the shop. She is also incredibly methodical and organized. Her raw materials are sorted by color and her jewelry is neatly tucked away by its respective category. She rocks one of her husband's band shirts and spotty nail polish on her fingers, because when you work with your hands, they are never near perfect. We had a wonderful time catching up as she showed me the most recent jewelry she has been working on. I was genuinely inspired by how productive and dedicated she is with such limited free time. 

"One of my biggest inspirations is to work with other women who are also trying to make something of themselves. I just find it so important these days, that we as women support one another in being successful." I couldn't agree with her sentiment more. Thank you Dani. Here is to you and all the other badass ladies out there who are making shit happen. 

Heil Wedding :: Destination Mexico

It has been such an honor to document this beautifully intimate, honest and vibrant celebration of your lifetime commitment to one another. You are both such warm and genuine people. The glow from your love radiated upon every face in the room (really). Thank you for having us capture the magic of your wedding in Mexico! 

Simon and Oliver :: Documentary Family

Alyssa is one of my best friends and like a sister to me. Her kids call me "AuntieKat" like it's one word and not two. Simon tells stories with the sweetest squeaky voice and has blonde ringlet curls that catch the sunlight in ways I can't understand. Oliver has the longest eyelashes I have ever seen, and the sharpest memory of any person I know. I love them so much. 

Taucrux :: Artist Profile

Photographing people in their element is one thing I love to do. Maddison is an illustrator. He showed me his basement room/studio where he makes a lot of his artwork. He had quite the interesting living room. We talked a lot in there while he showed me some pieces he was mailing off to San Francisco for an installation. Looking back on these photos, I can see his sense of humor but also an honest, thoughtful and more serious side. I think we are all a bit vulnerable around cameras in general, let alone when we share our personal creations. 

If you'd like to check out more of his amazing work:

Instagram: Taucrux  Website: taucrux.storenvy.com

Coffee with The Durnins :: Documentary Family

This morning I hung out with my dear friends that I have known since high school. We all grew up thousands of miles away in the Midwest, but live only an hour away from each other here in Oregon. When we visit one another, our houses become each other's homes, but ultimately, our shared company is the "home" we feel. I have been photographing their kids since they were babies! Ania has a paralyzing way of staring straight into my lens. Now that she is older, she has become more self-aware, so this time I really had to challenge her shyness. I was originally going to post one photo of her, but when I sat down to edit these, I found that impossible. I love the playfulness of her older brother Jude in the periphery. I caught a few of him too. 

Willow and her Family :: Lifestyle Family Session

Willow absolutely adores her massive best friend, Grux, a 130 pound German Shepherd. He was so kind and gentle with her, even when she was in charge of his food and treats. I had fun watching as her parents knew exactly how to pull her out of her thoughtful and more serious gazes to make her smile and laugh. The Autumn sunlight in their kitchen and backyard was the perfect golden backdrop for exposing the love and affection they share with one another. 

The Boersmas :: Documentary Family Session

This family is like a second family to me. I don't like the word "nanny" so much as "auntie" to the kids, "little sister" to the parents or simply just "lifelong friends." I had so much fun documenting everyone together. You can see the kids lure their somewhat stoic father out of his shell and how much Danna beams in their presence. The love and affection these kids have towards their mom and dad is not posed in the slightest, and being around that unconditional bond is a reminder of one of the reasons that life is a true gift. The personalities in this family are dynamic, but one thing I love is how smart and funny all of them are. I truly am lucky to not only work with and spend time with them, but just to have met them.

A Day in the Life - Bodnar Family :: Family

It was so much fun to document this family of 5. These three daughters were full of energy and adventure and I felt so lucky to get a tour of their rooms and a direct glimpse into what they're up to on Sunday mornings. Their parents were not only so patient with the high energy of their daughters, but I could see how bonded they are as a team. As I edited these images, I could sense how my style behind my new 35 mm lens is evolving. Documenting people in their element is definitely a passion of mine, and I can only hope to communicate them as naturally and spirited as possible. 

Lilla :: Documentary Family

This young family was so much fun to work with. Baby Lilla's grandparents, Patrick and Kathleen, were visiting all the way from England! It was also Father's Day weekend, so it was a special time to document their time together. The only red-head present during this shoot was Lilla herself. However, as beautiful as her ginger curls were, her luminous personality and easy excitement were the most notable aspects of her presence. It is incredible how such small children who aren't quite able to communicate with language can have such a contribution to a group and make themselves so clear in that ever pure way only babies can do. You can see by all the smiles and laughter around her, she is an affectionate little girl with a big personality. This sweet girl is ready to take on the world. 

Baby Vivian :: Documentary Family

Newborn babies are magical. They may just sleep a lot, but if you take time to really observe them, you see just how innocent, vulnerable, and pure these new little humans really are. Vivian was the sweetest. I loved the way she looked at her parents (and the way they would look at her). I even caught her a few times as she was blinking at my camera. Her giant black pupils reflected a sweet soul, her determined and wrinkled forehead showed pure curiosity and her eager little lips curled into little shapes of little sounds that made my heartstrings hum. Magic. 

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Brandi and Ben :: Lifestyle Maternity Session :: Portland, OR

I have always been fascinated by couples who meet at a young age and stay together while they grow through their 20s. Brandi and Ben are still going strong after 11 years and their little girl finally gets here in just a couple of weeks! 

Voytas Family :: Lifestyle Family Session :: Portland, Oregon Photographer

I finally got to capture the beautiful family that bid for the session I donated to the Laurelhurst School auction last year. Little Augie and Elsie made this lifestyle shoot more than easy with their curious and playful personalities. Thank you again for your contribution and allowing me to truly capture the essence of your family, Luke and Camille.