Little Big Burger and Boxer Sushi

Here are some images I made on assignment for Oregon Business a couple months ago, along with some of the out takes. I was sent out to photograph local restauranteurs Micah Camden and Katie Poppe at their flagship Little Big Burger store in the Pearl District, as well as their new restaurant Boxer Sushi. It was a fun assignment for me as don’t get to photograph food very often (which is probably good for my waistline). Unfortunately the sushi restaurant was cut from the story—don’t know why—but the pictures turned out well.

Micah and Katie keep busy. They just opened a new Little Big Burger outlet on NW 23rd Ave.—their fifth, I believe—and at least one more is in the works. It’s probably a good thing the NW 23rd location wasn’t open when I lived in that area, because it’s really good! (They serve truffle-oil fries with Camden’s own ketchup recipe … wow.)

The sushi restaurant, which features chef Ian Skomski, is in SE Portland. I haven’t eaten there. Yet.

Laura Niemi

One of the great things about Portland is the system of community gardens that the city operates throughout its jurisdiction. Since the first garden opened in 1975, the program has grown to 43 locations serving more than 1600 gardeners.

Program Coordinator Laura Niemi took the reins of the community gardens program last year.

With more than 1000 families on the waiting list, she has the program on an aggressive growth trajectory. Several new gardens have opened in the past 12 months, and others are under construction.

I met Laura on a grey, drizzly “will-it-or-won’t-it” day in June, at the community garden in southeast Portland’s Ed Benedict Park. The garden, which just opened this spring, is already mostly occupied. As well as traditional beds which range from 100 to 400 square feet, the garden includes a handful of raised-bed plots available for people who need something more accessible. These worked wonderfully for our purposes, bringing the agriculture up closer to Laura’s face to establish the connection between her and the gardens.

Marianne Buchwalter

Marianne Buchwalter poses in her SW Portland condo, beside a bust of herself made “many years ago” by Frederick Littman. (Photos by Matthew Ginn © 2012)

I’ve probably said it before, but one of the best things about being a photographer is all the interesting people you get to meet. One recent pleasure was Marianne Buchwalter, a truly fascinating individual whom I photographed to accompany an article about her memoir, Memories of a Berlin Childhood.

Marianne and her family came to Oregon after fleeing Germany just four days after Kristallnacht in November 1938. She was 14 years old. (Though their departure was planned in advance of that event, it was hastened in the wake of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Berlin.)

Though the book ends with her family leaving Berlin, Marianne’s story does not end there. Her family came (via Holland) to Portland, where an uncle already lived. Marianne studied at Reed College, Stanford, and Columbia en route to a career as a psychotherapist. Along the way, she married and had four children. Long retired and widowed, Marianne is active in the Portland arts community, writing and playing piano in her spare time. She still divides her time between a riverside condo in Portland and a residence in southwestern France (in fact, we photographed this assignment a few weeks early because of her imminent departure for Europe). Not bad for an 88-year-old!

Andrea Nakayama

Andrea Nakayama is a nutritionist I photographed recently for a story in a seniors newspaper. She recommends a diet based on whole foods, including things like yoghurt, nuts, kimchi and fruit, and eliminating refined sugar, dairy and gluten. She had some of the props—the “good” stuff of course, and a few bags of chips and cookies she uses to teach her classes. The other “bad” stuff, like sugar, milk and bread, I brought from my own kitchen!

We made some portraits of Andrea on that theme in her kitchen and then, because she has this gorgeous sunlit eating area off her kitchen, we made some additional portraits of her snacking on hazel nuts in there.

You can learn more about Andrea and her philosophy on her website,

Critical Revue PDX!

One of the toughest things for a photographer to do is evaluate their own work. It’s too easy to fall in love with your own images for the wrong reasons (“You won’t believe how hard it was to get that shot” or “I got to photograph someone really famous!”), or to be overly critical (“I wish the subjects foot were pointed 5° more to the left” or “That would be so much better if the catch-lights were square instead of round”).

Critical revue is your opportunity to get open, honest feedback from people who know what they’re talking about. (It’s also a good excuse to meet/socialize with your fellow photographers!)

It’s all happening Wednesday April 25, at studio 304 in SE Portland (537 SE Ash St., 3rd floor). Doors open at 6:30, and the show starts at 7.


We are grateful for the support of our sponsors: Plywerk, the coolest, eco-friendliest way to mount and display your work, and Pro Photo Supply, the best camera store in Portland, period. Support your local photo industry!

How will it work?

The idea is based on something Zack Arias did in Atlanta. Basically, you bring a portfolio or body of work, show up at the studio with a chair and beverage, and listen and learn as the panel of experts critiques the work. The work will be projected for everyone to see, and the whole audience will hear what the critics have to say.
Zack’s rules apply:

  1. You can’t take it personally. Even if the panel laughs at your photos. They are there first and foremost to help and that means they aren’t going to just hand out pats on the back and pump up your self esteem. Honest critique is needed by all of us in order to grow. It is the goal to point out strengths and weakness. We all have to grow. None of us have this all figured out. Just remember that.
  2. You can’t explain your work until after the critique. You could show a mediocre photograph and then tell us the saddest story in the world about the photograph and suddenly we want to like the photograph. A picture stands on its own or it doesn’t. Let your work speak for itself. We can have a discussion about your work after the panel has had its say first.
  3. You aren’t guaranteed a critique. We have no idea how many folks are going to show up. That’s why it is a bring-your-own-chair sort of event. If 6 people show up then we’ll get to all of you. If 100 people show up, well, you know that would be impossible. Sitting in on the critique is always a good learning experience though. You don’t have to put something in the box to attend. You can rubberneck if you want. :)
  4. Bring a chair, bring a beverage. Our floor is hard so you might want to grab a folding chair from home. And if you think you might get thirsty, bring something you like.

The panel

The work will be reviewed by renowned editorial/commercial photographer Daniel Root and internationally-recognized fashion/lifestyle photographer Quavondo, and living legend Bruce Forster. The panelists’ opinions are their own, of course, but they’ve been around the block and their experience covers a wide cross-section of the image creation business.

The details

We need your work! If you want to submit work to be considered by our panel here’s what you should do:

  • Put together a portfolio or body of work of no more than 20 pictures. It doesn’t have to be “your very bestest work ever,” just something of presentable quality that you want some feedback on. Any subject is ok (except porn), but keep in mind that our panel will review the work based on their own background.
  • Optimize the pictures for projection at 1024 (horiz.) x 768 (vert.) pixels. It doesn’t have to be created digitally, but it must be presented that way. Save the pictures as jpeg files with sRGB color profile.
  • Name the pictures with your name and the sequence, e.g. MatthewGinn01.jpg, MatthewGinn02.jpg, etc. (Don’t forget the leading ‘0’, or photos 10-19 might end up before photo 2!)
  • Email them to me, matthew-at-matthewginn-dot-com, with the subject line “Critical Revue PDX portfolio” OR bring them on a memory stick to the event.
  • IMPORTANT: re-read Zack’s rules above.

Space is limited—please “join” this event on Facebook.