An exhibition of the Portland Grid Project, a sustained Portland photography endeavor, will be open to public from March 31 through May 1st at the 12×16 Gallery in Southeast Portland. Sixty images will be on display from the project, showing pieces of Portland and how the city has changed over time.
The Portland Grid Project was started in 1995 when Christopher Rauschenerg, a local photographer, cut a map of Portland into 98 pieces and invited 12 other local photographers to help him capture one randomly selected square per month.
“Everyone brings something completely different to the table,” says Castle, a full-time student at Portland State University who joined the project in 2013. “Especially how fast the city is changing and growing, it’s an opportunity to see Portland — the little places that aren’t highlighted as tourist destinations but are really cool parts of the city.”
The photographers use a variety of digital formats in their project to capture the city, but each focus on the same grid square, using their own perspective and aesthetic in the process.
George Kelly works with film and has been part of the project since 2007. “My goal is to make things more recognizable, focus less on specifics — more broad. I would see a slug in Forest Park but wouldn’t be able to take a picture of it with a wide-angle lens.”
Other photographers enjoy connecting with the community through the project.
“I love photographing people, documenting people and the environment. I also love Portland,” Castle said. “This is an awesome opportunity to get to know the nooks and crannies of Portland — places I’m sure I would never venture to.”
One time, while Castle photographed outside a Baptist church, the pastor came out and asked him what he was doing. After Castle explained the project, the pastor invited him to attend the church service on Sunday.
Castle attended the service and found a welcoming environment. “The congregation and pastor were so welcoming and excited to have me there,” Castle remembers. “They gave me hugs. There was so much passion. I think I even danced a little bit.”
Once a month, the photographers meet and share their work. This month’s artists are Scott Binkley, Nancy Butler, Carole Glauber, Nathan Lucas, Missy Prince, Faulkner Short, Pat Bognar, Daniel Castle, George Kelly, Alberta Mayo, Steve Rockoff and Jeffrey Thorns.
The Grid Project photos can be viewed on the project’s website.
The archive will stand as a wealth of local cultural history.