Udon Noodle Portraits for a New Seattle Restaurant

Tonight is the friends-and-family party celebrating the opening of my brother-in-law’s new restaurant, U:Don Fresh Japanese Noodle Station. Yes, there’s an emoticon in the restaurant name. Don’t fret! It’s called clever branding!

The anticipation has been building for a while, and everyone is quite excited for U:Don to finally open. Outside of handling the website and the rest of the online presence, I also took part in some of their photography artwork, collaborating with Scott Pitts, food photographer extraordinaire, to create a pair of large-scale photomontages.

The original plan was to try to use all of these images and more in the large 8-foot-by-3-foot spaces (and thank you so much to Hal, Jaelithe, Doug and Yuko for their time and patience!), but in the end we distilled the idea down to using just two of the images, paired with some of the food photography. Whatever the outcome, it’s still pretty marvelous to see one’s work upon the wall of a new Seattle restaurant. It makes dining all the more pleasurable!

Japanese lesson: To give thanks and begin a meal in Japan, you say “itadakimasu” [phonetically, say: “ee-tah-dah-kee-mahss”]. I think I’ll be saying that quite a bit at U:Don.

A Courthouse Wedding for Cordula and Mike

There’s something very sweet about a courthouse wedding. Short, simple, and often shared with your closest family members. Cordula and Mike asked me to record moments from their special day, first with a portraiture shoot at Golden Gardens, and then their civil marriage ceremony at the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle.

The courthouse was otherwise closed for Veterans Day (11/11/11!), but we were ushered through security with a humorous patdown from the single guard, then it was up several floors to the judge’s modest chambers with a sunset view of Puget Sound and Smith Tower. With immediate family looking on, Cordula and Mike exchanged their vows. A happy wedding doesn’t need much more than that.

Jackie at Seattle Bouldering Project

My good friend Jackie is a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor, and we often shoot a couple times a year for her website, or for fun. This time we were focused on yoga and working in a weight room, but at the end of our shoot at the Seattle Bouldering Project, we ran out into the boulders to get some photos of her climbing.

It’s probably obvious, but Jackie is both strong and talented. In between popping off my flash and trying to stay out of everyone’s way, I was watching many of the young guys bouldering struggling to lift themselves up or to maintain grips. But Jackie was like Spider-Woman as she wove her way quickly up each color-coded path, and there were times I had to ask her to move more slowly or to hold a position so I could photograph it.

These images are all in black and white, because I liked a bit of that gritty dramatic feel, especially on the photo where she’s posing like an Amazon warrior.