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Public Living Rooms: The King Community Project

Alan Wieder | OR, United States

Portrait, dog, and double reflection

In July, with tRump’s stormtroopers in town, I attended a demonstration in North Portland. At the event I was fortunate to meet a community of individuals, ages ranging from children to adults in their 70s, who grew up and still live near King Elementary School in spite of intense neighborhood gentrification. Everyday some of these individuals meet in the park that adjoins the school. Sometimes they eat and drink and smoke; what is constant, though, is Conversation. Since that time, I have had the privilege of taking photographs in the park almost every day. Individuals have welcomed me into their lives, albeit, because of the virus I have chosen to limit our meetings to the park. It’s important to note that I view this as an ongoing endeavor. People have invited me into their homes and churches and more; that will be part of the post-pandemic project. For now, I am submitting relational portraits of a community. Individuals meeting each day in their own “public living room.”

Street photography began for me over 45 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. Since that time, I have taken photographs in Asia, Africa, Europe, and throughout the Americas. Most of this work has been near my homes in South Carolina, Cape Town, and Portland. Recently, I’ve been privileged to study with master photographers Bruce Gilden, Peter Turnley, David Alan Harvey, Constantine Manos, Harvey Stein and Nikos Econopoulos. Their teachings have both expanded and focused my work. I try to capture spirit through the eyes of the individuals I photograph within the context of their various settings



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