Wednesday, June 2, 2010

We're Moving!

It's true. We're entering the world of schlepping all of our stuff out of the studio and into a new studio. Boy, it sure is hard work but we've got this! Excited to be a part of Southeast, our new address starting June 7, 2010 will be:

Bruce Forster Photography &
Viewfinders Stock Photography
3245 SE Ankeny Street
Portland, Oregon 97214
Same Fax, Phone, and Email:phone 503.222.5222
fax 503.274.7995

We've really enjoyed our time in the Gadsby and we're sad to say goodbye. But the new studio has free parking! And is right by Laurelhurst Market so that makes us happy. Look for some great new photos in the following weeks and a series of blogs about our contributors! Moving is inspiring. Photos of the new space to come but for now we'll pay homage to this beautiful spot. 

Bye bye old studio. Thank you!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Above Portland

It's pretty obvious that we love Portland. Bruce Forster, owner and lead photographer at Viewfinders Stock Photography, photographs the city at all angles. Underground, eye level, and then, of course, from the air. And you'd think, after shooting for over thirty years in town, he would have photographed everything! Nope, just the other day, he did something he has never done before. He photographed Portland at night from a helicopter. If you're a photographer, you know night and motion don't mix very well. Out of 60 shots, Bruce got 6 in focus. Hey, not bad!

Aerial photography is like an old hat for Bruce.  Commissioned by multiple clients to get shots of various buildings and spaces makes flight costs lower for everybody. One client who wants to be a part of each flight is Cameron Publishing in San Francisco.  They've hired Bruce to produce the photography for a new book about Portland.  Entitled "Above Portland", this coffee table book will be the first since the death of Robert Cameron, 98, owner of and photographer for Cameron + Company. His grandson-in-law, Chris Gruener, chose Portland because of it's popularity in the bay area. This will also be the first book with a new branding design. Owner of an extensive collection of aerial photography from over the years, Bruce was the best candidate. So, in company with Chet Orloff, a well known local historian and writer, Bruce is combining his library along with new shots to create a perfect aerial view of Portland.

Chris Gruener called just in time too. It's spring in Portland and it just so happens to be Forster's favorite time to get in the helicopter and capture the new growth and greenest greens around this beautiful place. On a routine late afternoon flight after knocking out a few locations, Tyler, Bruce's trusty pilot, informs him of how hungry he has become. Agreeing to grab a bite (not a beer, of course) at Old Town Pizza, they touch down at the helipad nearby. After some incredible pizza, up again they go with the sun below the horizon. It's dusk. Turning the helicopter power off (so they're floating or dropping) reduces the vibrations and therefore reduces camera shake enabling Bruce to capture Portland's nightlife. And how alive it looks! 

Bruce plans to head up again. Preparing will be key. He might take his rigged mono pod for some fisheye shots or maybe a gyroscope to reduce the motion. Aerial photography is Bruce Forster's specialty. It will never become a commodity. Flying in low, sometimes below rooftops makes most people uncomfortable (me included). Please let us know if Portland aerials are something you need. "Above Portland" will be out at Christmas. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Big Kid Fun

What are you doing this Thursday? Art Not Crime is hosting a photography show with prints by Bruce Forster, lead photographer here at Viewfinders. As you may recall, Bruce first showcased his images from Pirate Town in September at AIA Gallery. This time the scene will be a little different.
Pirate Town, aka Triangle Park, aka Superfun Site had been home to taggers since the mid 90's when environmentalists declared the site too toxic for commercial use. Because the old factory resided on private property, artists were usually immune to hassle from authorities. This made the site one of their favorites. After the purchase of the property by University of Portland (they plan to build a sports center) the building was set to become ruble in the summer of 2009. When Bruce got wind of the ever changing canvas's fate of demolition, he made several trips down there to, once again, record a piece of history soon to be no more. Forster has taken the layers and layers of graffiti art and created his own interpretation. Not only documenting a culture but also forming a collaboration between him and other artists.
When Art Not Crime founder, D'Angelo Raines discovered Forster's shots of Pirate Town, he invited him to show at a new space, Provenance Gallery, in Northeast Portland. The show is a tribute to a once idolized hideout inhabited by D'Angelo and his friends. As he states in his blog, "lost but never forgotten!!!". The prints (sized at 17"x22") will only be up for one night (Thursday, April 29 from 5pm-12am) and selling for $75.00. If that doesn't entice you to make the trek, graffiti artists will be painting live, hip-hop dj Weatherman will be spinning, and Elevated Entities will be performing. Join us at Provence Gallery, 4943 NE MLK on the corner of NE Alberta this Thursday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Talk About GLEE!

When contributor shooter, Paul Gordon sent me these pictures, I couldn't quite believe or comprehend what I was looking at. Who knew Seattle was so loose yet so organized!? Sadly, I know next to nothing about the show Glee (I know, kick me), but after seeing the excitement and passion behind One Degree Events Flash Mob for the new spring season of the hit show, I think I'm more inclined to watch.
Founded by Egan Orion (a.k.a."Mobfather"), these flash mobs pop up in the middle of cities (yeah, it's not just Seattle), perform, and then disappear into the crowd. The times of mobbing are kept a secret. This one had a mix of four songs: Don't Stop Believin', Proud Mary, Gold Digger, and Somebody to Love. Instructional videos with the choreography were provided on the blog and people just met and danced! Like, thousands of people. Paul put it best in his email to me stating he went down there to shoot and a tourist from India asked him if there was an event scheduled. Paul told him, "no, this is just what we do in Seattle." I love that.
 Want to see more? There are videos on the Seattle Times site!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pioneer Courthouse Square before it was Pioneer Courthouse Square

I can't believe I haven't shared these images with you yet. Of all of Bruce Forster's photos, these really stick in my head. Go figure. They're from 1980. I feel like something like this would never happen these days.

 You may recognize the lot. It's where Pioneer Courthouse Square lives today. That rainbow represents the steps! Surprisingly, this city block has been through a lot to get to where it is today. In the 1840's, a shoemaker by the name of Elijah Hill came to Portland in hopes of starting a new life in a frontier town. He purchased the empty lot of land for $24 and a nice part of shoes. (Not kidding!).  Soon after, James Fields acquired the spot and, after striking it rich, sold it to the Portland School District in 1849 for $1,000. Portland's first schoolhouse was built and opened on May 17, 1856 and named Central School with 280 pupils registered. Later, it was sold to Henry Villard's Northern Pacific Terminal Company in 1883 for $75,000 (go Portland School District!).
Central School - image from Portland Public Schools
The plot of land took a turn for the worse when Henry Villard went broke soon after he lay the foundation for a hotel. The "ruins" sat for five years as an eyesore in the center of downtown Portland. It even became a dumping ground for murders from the neighboring seedy saloons. The community became fed up and 6 local businessmen put up $250,000 to open a first class hotel. Along with the contribution of 322 Portland citizens, the Portland Hotel Company was built. It opened on April 7, 1890. This hotel boomed as a social mecca for Portland and had seven presidents, among other notable people, stay in it's luxurious rooms.
Portland Hotel 1890 - image from Oregon Historical Society

With the arrival of other hotels in the area, the Portland Hotel declined in the 30's and by 1944, Julius Meier and Aaron Frank (Meier & Frank) had purchased the building. After announcing in 1951 that the building would be demolished, the duo built a two-story parking structure to take the hotel's place. Because of peoples' addictions to cars in the 50's and 60's, places to park downtown became impossible to find. Meier & Frank proposed an eight to ten story parking garage. After protests and proposals for a city park instead, Meier &wqs Frank's idea was denied by City Planning Commission.

A national design competition was conducted by the Portland Development Commission (PDC) in 1980 and over 160 submissions were received to make this city park. The winner was a design team lead by Willard Martin. To celebrate the win, Martin lay the life size design on the vacant lot in bright colors. With paint donated by Rodda Paint and help from a handful of volunteer painters, the design was revealed to the city of Portland in a way that was outlandish and wonderful at the same time. It gave the city an idea of what was to come. And, after such a fight with Meier & Frank to posses this lot, it was a civic victory and a celebration of something unique.

Volunteers painting the plan for Pioneer Courthouse Square - photos by Bruce Forster


Now we can sit in what Willard Martin named "Portland's living room" and know it took so much for it to exist.

Want to see more?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Exhibit at the Airport "Sky's the Limit"

Isn't it funny walking through the airport and seeing art in the display cases? I always thought so. It's actually a great place for shows because lots of people have lots of extra time to peruse. Being the best airport in the world (I think), PDX has outdone themselves on the "Sky's the Limit" show about aviation. Brought to you by Port of Portland and RACC (Regional Arts & Culture Council), this show resides in Concourse A at Portland International Airport.

Bruce Forster, our leader of the pack, has 8 prints in the show. He submitted images shot from the air (as opposed to pictures OF aviation). Ranging from organic nature shots of tulip fields to more urban shots of housing developments, Bruce has displayed views most of us will never see.

Settling Ponds from a Paper Mill Oregon City, Oregon
Along with Bruce, there are 6 other photographers. The show will be up through the end of July 2010. Because the show is located through security, you'll have to wait until you go on a trip before you get to view this exclusive show. But I think it's a great reason to come up with an excuse for a vacation!
 A man hurrying by Bruce's images in the display case

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Part of History

I don't know about you but I've noticed there are quite a few water towers atop some of the old buildings in Portland.  Because we don't use them anymore they have become little historical landmarks. One of the buildings that sticks out amongst all the modern marvels of the Pearl District is the Centennial Mills Building.
 Centennial Mills (originally named Crown Mills) was a large grain and flour milling and processing plant. It opened in 1910 with a closing date of 2000.  Playing an important role in Portland's economic growth, Centennial Mills contributed to our status as a major grain processing and shipping hub. With such a success, Centennial Mills was able to add onto the original building resulting in a 4.75 acre site with 11 different buildings. 

Soon after the mill shut down for good, in 2001, Bruce Forster gained access to the site. These great black and white film shots give us a taste of what it might have been like.  

Parts of the mill are still exactly as they were when business was booming. The basement shows how the foundation was made from actual tree trunks.

 The plan now is a makeover. The PDC (Portland Development Commission) has plans to convert the mill into business spaces with a focus on providing open space, capturing history, defining a community focal point, strengthening connections, and embracing sustainability. Construction begins in 2011 with a finish date of 2012. So great that we can take a piece of history and convert it into something new that will create a whole other piece of history. Portland is good at that!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Bruce!

Today is Bruce Forster's birthday! We didn't do anything to celebrate it and I am the only one in the studio. Troy went to learn how to cook Indian food in Mosier (go figure) and Bruce is out helping Ginny with a laser paper cutter. So that leaves me, Amaren. Don't get me wrong, we got him presents so we didn't ignore it completely. But, I did give Bruce a huge lecture on social media and how I am going to master it in the next few months. Probably not the most fun thing on one's birthday, right?
This is Bruce Forster
Let me ask you a question. When you are piddling around on peoples' sites that interest you, what are you most curious about? I mean, is it their content (like, what the site is there for) or is it their About page? I mean, seriously, when I find a photographer I like, say this Portland wedding photographer, You Look Nice Today Photography, I am most curious about what that photographer looks like! What is that? I mean, I love their photography but since I don't know their name, I am even more investigative when I peruse their site. Am I the only one here?

We are busy busy here in the studio (well not at this exact moment, per se, but...) shooting portraits and constantly throwing content on the Viewfinders Photoshelter site! Just in the last couple of days, we have uploaded all our contributor's photography. They are not live yet but soon to be! Really looking forward to receiving some new stuff too.

Make sure to take a look and get some stunning Pacific Northwest shots. This is honestly the most beautiful part of the country...beach, mountains, and desert all within a 2 hour drive radius of Portland. What? That's amazing!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Boarding. Not Boring.

Bruce Forster, the head honcho here at Viewfinders, is not the type of guy you'd expect to see at a skate park (unless you were in trouble and he was your angry dad coming to pick you up). No, we usually find him out in the high desert of Oregon and Washington in a helicopter photographing wind farms, or knee deep in soot getting a compelling shot of a coal mine. Bruce never ceases to surprise me when I arrive at the studio and he sits me down to show me all the graffiti photos he snapped over the weekend or the Erotic Ball he attended at the Crystal Ballroom.

Now, let's get this straight, Bruce is no skateboarding photographer...well, at least he doesn't call himself one. But, for someone who doesn't know anything about skateboarding or the culture surrounding it, he sure does know how to make it look good. And, if you think about it, skateboarding and riding in a helicopter both fall into one similar category, they're exciting, extreme activities.

An old, hip friend of Bruce's, Larry King (not the one on TV), was the first to turn him onto these "other" cultures including skateboarding and graffiti art. These ways of life are different from Bruce's everyday world and, as a compulsive shooter, feed his need to capture.

Photographing skateboarders is not an easy task. Knowing the exact moment to shoot a trick can be, well, tricky. Sometimes it's all about whether or not a skater lands it right. For a first time, Bruce did these skaters justice. Look for more from Pier Park Skate Park and Tigard Skate Park in the next week on our new (and very much progressed) website