Fashion In Portland

In July, we completed a two-day shoot featuring nine of Oregon’s top designers and their latest pieces. It was a flurry of models, makeup artists, hair designers, creative directors, videography and many assistants running like mad.

Here is the spread in print for 1859 Magazine, including behind the scenes video interviews with each designer.  It was an honor to meet the designers and see their new designs!

For 1859 Magazine





The Tangles Of An Illicit Affair

The first time I saw her, I knew I could not resist her seductive force.

She stood alone, high on life, strong and poised, ready to brave the worst and the best that came her way.  Fiercely independent, she seemed to need no one, yet her invitation beckoned even the most jaded audience.

I moved slowly, hesitantly.  I could not believe this was my truth.  I already had one relationship that was loving and comforted my heat – how could I possibly deserve another? And how would I feel on that first morning after, when reality slams into my brain?  And what if they both needed me at the same time?  Was this fair?

Yet one foot followed the other, and head made room for heart, and soon I stood before her, weak in the soul.  I wanted her.  I had to have her.

I knew what she could bring to me – glorious sunsets, reckless nights, passing storms, songs I had never heard, and a star-filled existence.  My trepidation turned to full on lust and as she receded slightly, my intentions only became stronger.

Most people, once or twice in their lives, experience an illicit affair, even if only by wishes. Passions may not culminate, but the heart is stolen nonetheless by the imagination and possibilities.  If we are lucky, these affairs fuel our creativity and we produce our best art.  Muses are useful things, if only we can get over our puritan upbringing and permit ourselves to love humanity at its most raw and vigorous level.

So I brushed aside reason, and conjured more energy for my aim.

I didn’t sleep that night of my resolve, the wonder of it all just too intense.  I liked this feeling of being two persons in one.  Fractured, I felt whole.

The sun always rises, and when it did on that day of reconciliation, I was ready to explain myself to anyone who challenged my desires.  I was ready to proceed with this new splintered lifestyle.  Things which are just out of reach have fascinated me.  How close can one get before something is had?

Restraint can be a powerful platform from which we can move toward a cornucopia of good things.  As I laid down my final offer, vulnerable and pushing aside my fear, she seemed mine, for one hour.

Yet, the heart knows no boundaries and cannot play director for very long.  When word reached me that she had returned to her lover, I was stunned.  Had I waited too long?  Am I nothing but a catalyst for someone else’s reconciliation?

I sauntered around that day, and the next.  And yes, the next.  I almost had her.  If only I had…

She will live on in my soul, as a litmus test against others.  I don’t know if I will ever find myself in this same position.  I only hope my memory of her will fade.

As I retreat back home, I see my steady lover in a new light.  She knew I had wandered, yet here she was, with doors open and her soft breezy manner soliciting my hunger.

Once again, I was home safe.  But still so very hungry.

Winlock Road

My almost lover


SE 36th Ave. Home

My steady lover


UPDATE TO THIS POST: After one year, the owners who had pulled out of the sale of “my mistress” responded to my love letter that I had sent them, and said they were at last emotionally ready to let her go. Here is a view from the kitchen window:

Cabin View


Exhibit: The Market Workers at PushDot Studio

Once again, I will be able to stand in the middle of a room, look around and marvel at the intensity of many beautiful Ethiopian eyes all at once.

Ten images from my “Market Workers” series will be shown at PushDot Studio.  Join me for an opening reception this Friday, August 2 from 6-9pm as we raise a glass of cheer to those who might just be the hardest workers on earth.

All images were printed at PushDot Studio.  A very special thank you goes to Laura Domela, who, with her painter’s hand and master photographer’s skill, made the images sing with her magical post processing work.

One hundred forty-four subjects were photographed for this series, and each printed image is mounted on black sintra then framed without glass so that there is nothing between viewer and subject.

It has been exceptionally difficult to select which images are printed, as I dearly love each and every one.  In time, I hope to have all of them printed and floating about the world in celebration of the Ethiopian spirit.



Desta, 2012





Exhibit: The Art Of Photography 2013

My image “The House Maid” was selected to be in The Art Of Photography 2013 exhibit curated by Julia Dolan and will be exhibited online here.

This exhibit had 12,961 entries from 84 countries, and 201 pieces were chosen.  I am very happy that the image they selected represents the beautiful people of Ethiopia. This image was taken in a small village called Sheno, about an hour away from Addis Ababa.

The opening reception is October 12, 2013 in San Diego, and the show will run until November 17, 2013.


The House Maid


Bicycles, Art, Oh MY!

Holy Moly! What a fun shoot. Cyclists! Bicycles! Fine Art mash-up! A four-year-old kiddo!

When Kevin Max, editor of 1859 Magazine asked me if I would photograph cyclists and their bicycles inside of an art museum, I told him it would never be permitted.

Lucky for us! The current Portland Art Museum “Cyclopedia” exhibit was about to launch, and the timing was right. The museum swapped out people on every hour whose responsibility was to monitor our moves: no one nor any equipment could get within four feet of any art piece.

Lucky for us again: nothing was broken, and fun was had by all.

1859 Magazine shoot at the Portland Art Museum

Prints For Prints: A Makeshift Studio in Rural Ethiopia

One thing that has become apparent while traveling anywhere is how precious a photograph print is to a family, especially in the rural areas of Ethiopia.  Most families have no record or image of their loved ones, and when we are able to give prints to villagers, it is appreciated beyond measure.

So this November, I will be traveling to Ethiopia with a small team of photographers and we will set up a small portable studio in several villages. We will capture portraits and donate the prints to the families we photograph. In addition, each US photographer will be paired with an Ethiopian photographer so there is an exchange of talents: technical skills, cultural awareness, and love for humanity.

We are planning a fundraiser to help with the costs for this project.  The concept is simple: we are calling the fundraiser “Prints For Prints”, and we will auction matted prints from photo-loving friends (both amateur and professional photographers). The prints will be sold at a very reasonable “affordable art” cost ($50-100 sliding scale) during a fun and relaxed party, followed by music by Portland’s very own Ethiopian funk band: The Tezeta Band!

This event will be held on August 8, 2013 starting at 7pm at the Secret Society Ballroom and we hope you will be able to attend.

All ages welcome until 8:30pm, then it is 21+.

Follow me at @jkabana on Instagram during November to see this project in action.

Facebook page:

See our Website to view all of the prints and the fabulous photographers!


Villagers in Marovoay, Madagascar look at a Polaroid photo that was just made with their family.

(Villagers in Marovoay, Madagascar look at a Polaroid photo that was just made with their family.)

Prints For Prints Poster





Argentina: The Land Of Colors

Argentina is like a carnival in many ways.  From colorful street art to painted mountains to clothing with flare, colors are abundant everywhere you look.  Here are a few iPhone photos I took along the way as my eyes soaked in all of the colors around me.

View from the plane as we headed for Salta, Argentina


Wild donkeys in Jujuy, Argentina


On the road to Las Salinas Grandes, Argentina


Yummy empanadas, each of them with a different filling


The painted mountains surrounding Purmamarca, Argentina


Street Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina


The mountains near Tilcara, Argentina


La Bomba stirs the crowd in an old warehouse in Buenos Aires, Argentina


Street Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Street Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina



Copyright 2017 Joni Kabana. All rights reserved. Site by TD