Wired brings us this story of yet another out-of-towner who wants to suckle and cash in on the Portlandia teat (oh, hello Lauren Weedman)—meet San Francisco portrait photographer Kirk Crippens who came to town to shoot a series of photo portraits that originally were supposed to debunk the stereotypical claims made by Portlandia... or so he says. From Wired:
[When Crippens] was granted a month-long artist residency at NewSpace Center for Photography in Portland, he wanted to test this dominant narrative and hit the streets to meet real people. Throughout the month of April, for his series Portraitlandia, Crippens made 45 portraits. He expected his work to stand in sharp contrast to the fictions of Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, but at the end of it all found that there was significant overlap between their view and his.
Apparently Crippens reached out to friends to find these "real people," and so... here ya go, Portland! A PICTURE THAT DEPICTS WHAT YOU'RE REALLY LIKE!
- Photographer: Kirk Crippens
- Jedediah Aaker, beard champion, Barfly Party Bus host
See? Photographic evidence that Carrie and Fred are right! Thanks, Kirk Crippens! You may now return to San Francisco, confidently wrapped in the warm glow of a job well done! (See the rest of the series here.)
Seriously though, I get that Jed in his cat suit (whom I adore) is just as much of a "real" Portlander as me, you, or Joe McBlow who sweeps the Plaid Pantry on the nightshift. And yes, there are a few non-quirkster photos here, the photography is all very pleasant to look at, and who doesn't like to see a picture of Ron Funches (and Mercury commenter DamosA)? HOWEVER. Crippens shouldn't pretend he's doing anything other than hooking his wagon up to the Portlandia gravy train, creating art solely for the benefit of those who are already buying into Portlandia's narrow viewpoint. It doesn't exist to celebrate the "different," it celebrates what the artist thinks out-of-towners will find "freaky." YEAH GODDAMMIT, I'M A GRUMP. I guess you'll just have to excuse me if I get a little weary of lazy projects like this which present Portland as being a side-show for tourists.
That being said, if you want to see portraits of actual, really real Portlanders—ones that don't include a single participant wearing a cat costume—check out Intisar Abioto's work on her site The Black Portlanders. If you're from out of town, it's a much better place to start.