Friday, December 30, 2011

We never live long enough in our lives / to know what today is

Bobby Abrahamson 4

Bobby Abrahamson 2

Last week, on my day off, I went to follow a photographer around as he makes Type 55 Polaroid portraits of his neighbors. I had a blast. The experience really put me in a great mood for Christmas. Anyway, tomorrow it -- along with the story about the car-free family -- are running as centerpieces in the Oregonian. I only had two hours to write this, but check it out if you're inclined.

Bobby Abrahamson was tired of running away. For years, the photographer had been jetting to foreign countries, shooting a roll a day of landscapes or street scenes -- faraway pictures in faraway places. In June, he found himself with a new home in St. Johns and a plane ticket to South America. Just once, he realized, he wanted to stay.

The 45-year-old cashed in his ticket and began what has become a daily ritual, walking through St. Johns with an old Crown Graphic camera and a pack of expired film, making portraits of his neighbors. The 100 or so black and white photos show a neighborhood made up of the blue collar, the quirky and the buttoned-up. Of families and misfits, young and old.

"I wanted to make photos where you got to know the people," he says. "I wanted to start moving in closer. Home is a place of discovery."

The stark street portraits show subjects locking eyes with the viewer. Abrahamson rarely captures much of a background. The people are the place.


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