Yesterday I was editing a portrait session I did last week for Sherry Curran who works as an office manager for the CCS Foundation. She was such a kind hearted person and I felt a kindred spirit as we talked about the upcoming Banff Film Festival.
I made this image and it is my favorite one. I often make images that I know do not have the commercial value for the intended use as a head shot but I do it anyway because it is a way for me to explore the dignity of the human spirit. It reminds me of the greeting uttered at the beginning and end of a yoga class, NAMASTE.
I like the word namaste because essentially it means, the light within me honors the light within you. In the case of my studio portraits I am attempting to draw out the essence of a person literally with light.
I made this image of a man named Simeon who was from Nigeria back the late 1990’s. I think he was the first person I photographed that made me aware of deeper human spirit that goes beyond the surface levels of wants and needs. He was an international student at Gonzaga University who had aspirations to go back to Nigeria and help effect change. Back then Nigeria was in the news a lot for having an oppressive government and we discussed the risks he would face trying to achieve his dreams.
I had the opportunity to photograph Rob Dietz a few years ago in my downtown studio. Rob Dietz is a Senior Vice President at Banner Bank in Spokane Washington who had at one point in his career specialized in farm loans. I enjoyed talking to him about our communities connection to agriculture and the times when I was in college working at a print shop that played a radio station that broadcast Wey Simpson’s farm report each day. We are all so connected to the land and the crops it yields that we share worldwide to feed the world.
Here is another outtake from a photo session with Benji Wade. Benji Wade is a founding partner and creative director of Treatment LLC which is a marketing company in Spokane that has become a B-Corp. The designation as a Certified B Coporation means that he and his company, “are leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy.”
I made this portrait of Blackfeet tribal member Wally Gladstone after a concert put on by his son Jack. What inspired me when I met Wally was the way he supported his son by driving him over 100,000 miles a year to and from his concert venues all over the country. That love of a father is something that means a lot to me and something I aspire to embody.
I made this window light portrait of Native American artist Jacob Johns on the first day I met him. His gentle spirit and passion for social justice moved me and I felt an instant connection. He is a member of the Hopi tribe who has wandered all across the country as an social and environmental activist. He is also a fantastic painter whose images reveal the powerful spirit that is within him.
Finally for today, I am sharing this image of Anne-Claire Mitchell who is an independent arts curator currently working with the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. When I first met her she was the director of the Richmond Art Collective downtown where she managed the gallery and studios. She was kind enough to invite me to become a member and I have been profoundly grateful for that experience. She is a visionary community leader and this is what I tried to show in this portrait.
To each of these wonderful people and to you as well I say Namaste