A completely different scale from the concentrated landmarks – and perhaps the antidote to the over-documented – comes from the great Portland Grid Project a photographic essay of the city using a loose framework of grid points in which photographers are unleashed to document the ‘other’ places in the community. The plan, photographers are directed to a confined zone using a AAA City map: “…that was cut into it’s individual grid sections and randomly picked each month.”
What you get isn’t the key points – but a Portland you may know, but rarely notice. Photos include the photographer, grid point, and date taken.
:: JIM CARMIN -M13 11/96 – image via Portland Grid Project
:: ANN KENDELLEN -F6 2/03 – image via Portland Grid Project
:: CHRISTOPHER RAUSCHENBERG -G4 4/00 – image via Portland Grid Project
Some background of this long-standing effort: “The photographers of the Portland Grid Project spent nine years (1996-2005) systematically documenting this city we live in. Now, with some new faces and perspectives, we continue looking at our ever-changing city in Round Two. We are using a map of Portland divided into grid squares a mile and a half on a side. Each month all of us photograph the same randomly picked square, using a variety of films and formats. At the end of the month, we meet to look at everyone’s photos. We estimate that as of this date we have created a complex, detailed urban portrait, consisting of about 20,000 images of Portland, its land forms, architecture, people, residential neighborhoods, industrial sites, waterways, parks, and sometimes just a shadow or the look of fallen leaves on a newly mowed lawn.”
I often return to the site to check out the latest – and now that the project has entered Round 2 it becomes an ever growing archive of the true heart and diversity of the city – at least as seen through the lens.
:: GEORGE KELLY – L12 4/08 – image via Portland Grid Project
:: NANCY BUTLER – G9 6/08 – image via Portland Grid Project
:: SHAWN RECORDS – K13 1/05 – image via Portland Grid Project