James Han Portland
James Han's Portland, without filters, without judgement, just unstoppable humanity. And as he once replied to me after a perhaps too superficial question of mine, 'everyone has his own cure'. With closing text by Blake Andrews. 52 pages, print run of 100, numbered, 50 available from today. Soon a small limited edition with silver salt prints handmade by the author.
''I met Jim at the Portland darkroom in 2018. He was open and guileless and I liked him immediately. He told me was a musician and a mortician, and that he’d spent the previous day on shrooms. He’d only been photographing a little while at that point, but he’d already found his voice. His pictures penetrated like harpoons. They took me places I hadn’t been. In early 2019 we spent an evening barhopping in Astoria, followed by a photo walk the next morning by the port. It was a cold clear January day and there weren’t many people out, but Jim approached all of them for a portrait. To my mild surprise most agreed. In 2020 we traveled with photo friends to LA, where it was the same routine. On the hour-long subway ride from LAX he shot dozens of portraits. Jim disappeared for most of that weekend to visit skid row downtown. I didn’t have the gumption to shoot that scene, but Jim made himself at home. He befriended a group of sidewalk campers and spent hours in their tents, chatting about life while he made photographs. Shortly after that trip, the pandemic brought Portland’s edge dwellers into the core. The photos in this zine capture small slices of their world. These are people living on the margins. They are usually out of sight out of mind. Jim’s photos bring them front and center without judgement. I think in another life he have might have been Mother Teresa.
Or perhaps Queequeg''.
—B.A., Eugene, 9/23