Makers in the Modern Era
A new catalog spotlights Portland artisans in their natural habitats
In an effort to become more than just a shopping destination, Core's flagship store, Hand-Eye Supply in downtown Portland, Oregon has taken the standard catalog to an artful new level.
Photographer Christine Taylor is a long-time friend of Hand-Eye Supply manager Tobias Berblinger, and when she learned he was making a new catalog for the store—a project that would likely result in the requisite bland product displays and posed models—she proposed an alternative. Taylor enlisted Berblinger to instead round up local artisans, cooks and craftspeople, and she took portraits of them in their work environments, holding and wearing gear that they use themselves.
The upshot, a catalog and lookbook called "Makers in the Modern Era," creates an instant survey of Portland's creative community as it looks every day. Taylor included traditional and non-traditional occupations, men and women, young people and old. The only thing they all have in common is that they all work with their hands. The commercial portraits have an arresting vintage feel to them, which Taylor pointed out are based on photographs from the '30s and '40s. "I used a hot flash, and the subject is just glancing up, as if you've just walked in on them," she explains.
The portraits are not purely documentary photographs, as the subjects are styled and posed, but the people, workshops and talent are real and so is the gear. Glass artist Andi Kovel of Esque Studio wears a pair of Ben Davis shorts, while Ping line cook Scott Whitus and kitchen manager Brandon LaRobadiere pose in the restaurant in a pair of Pointer Brand Denim aprons.
The catalog will be released 18 November 2011 at Hand-Eye Supply. To sign up for the newsletter and catalog, visit the store website.