About Mike Hipple’s portraits: With the onset of the recession, I was noticing my photography business, which had been mostly editorial portraits, was declining. One of the great things about photographing for magazines is meeting a lot of interesting subjects, some more interesting than others, but everyone had a story to tell. A lot of my friends and acquaintances here in Seattle are artist-types and I found myself creating self-assignments to keep my eye sharp.
I started creating a “wish list” of sorts in my head – people who inspired me creatively or sparked that creative nerve in some way. I was ecstatic when some of the folks said yes to me – designer Chip Kidd being one of the first. I am very grateful to the subjects, who really have nothing to gain by being photographed by me – I’m offering prints and files of course and my immense thanks but I’m not entirely sure how far that gets them!
I love the collaborative nature of many of the images – happy accidents where everything comes together perfectly. The image of actress and writer Lauren Weedman is one of those cases – I photographed her in Portland when she was in town to do a show. She was not familiar with the city and went to the wrong location – I panicked for a moment thinking the shoot was going to fall through.
Our initial meeting place was Voodoo Donuts – I bought a box and headed to the building she was staying and that great patio on her roof was waiting there for us to shoot. Same thing with the El Vez shoot – I approached him and he was excited about participating and said he had a very dry, year old Christmas tree and we could set it on fire! I was really excited visually but had images of ambulances and police cars and a neighborhood set ablaze in my head. Moments before we threw lighter fluid on the tree, he shouts, “If my hair catches on fire, keep shooting!” A true professional!