August 10, 2013 through September 07, 2013

Bobby Abrahamson “North Portland Polaroids”

North Portland Polaroids: Photographer Bobby Abrahamson has spent the past two years shooting hundreds of Polaroid Type 55 portraits of strangers he has encountered on the streets of St. Johns, a distinct, historically working-class neighborhood in North Portland where he lives. This expired, out-of-production, soon-to-be-extinct film produces both a print and a negative, providing Abrahamson the incentive he uses to entice his subjects to pose for a portrait. Bobby gives them an instant print, while keeping the 4” x 5” negatives for himself. The photographer has compiled 70 images from this series in a recently published monograph (same title as this show, available for sale here at LightBox). Julia Dolan,The Minor White Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum, writes about the project in the book’s foreword: “Abrahamson meets these people exactly where they are, precisely where they want to or should be. Himself a resident of St. Johns, Abrahamson is not only their photographer, but their neighbor, and his subjects respect this — notice how close he manages to get to so many of them. Their command of space and direct gazes attest to an undistracted presence, a strong link to their environment, and a wary trust in the artist.” “…this place isn’t just anywhere. It is St. Johns, and these are it’s people, quietly yet eloquently described by Bobby Abrahamson and his photographs.”

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