Portland has long been a well-known mecca for creatives. Bookstores, museums, galleries, music venues, coffee shops, cafes, and weekend markets are jam-packed with new and seasoned artists looking to showcase their brand to the public. Photography is as competitive as it ever has been, and fine art photography is no longer the niche market it once was. If you’re looking for the most insightful fine art photographers in Portland, there is so much great talent to sort through! Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work and laid out the very best below!
1. Kim Campbell
Kim has a master’s degree in art therapy from Marylhurst College and uses her interests in both photography and people to help others heal their trauma through artistic expression. In her own words: “I envisioned a life where I could use art to heal people… Creative photography is central to the evolution of my work. It is from that process that I draw inspiration which informs all my other projects.” As someone so strongly in touch with human emotion and the creative process, Kim produces unique work. Her style ranges from literal expressions to more symbolic ones that suggest themes rather than impose them upon the viewer. And her themes, such as her Enrobed series, are diverse despite their continuity. She mixes photos akin to Polaroid snapshots with studio isolated images, classic portraits, and sepia-toned fine art.
2. Gerard Smith of Long White Cloud Photography
Gerard Smith is a Portland-based fine art landscape photographer. His photography embraces both color and monochrome landscapes. He’s especially talented at long-exposure work that creates buttery smooth waves, waterfalls, and clouds with stark mineral details for contrast. His work often includes significant foreground interest points, and he appears to favor colors that are bold without being unrealistic. Clear skies with fascinating clouds drape mountains bursting with wildflowers. Not a single element lacks interest or focus in his portfolio. Covering Oregon, Washington, and other parts of the country, Gerard has collected photography suitable for any commercial or residential space in need of a touch of the great outdoors.
3. Tobin Floom
Tobin Floom is a fine art photographer with a refreshing take on creating photos. Tobin’s work blends both film photography and special post-processing techniques to give a painted look to his images. His images cover scenes from around the world, from iconic locations like the Great Pyramids of Giza to candid street portraits of strangers. There’s something for everyone in Tobin’s portfolio. Some images retain a film photography appearance with minor adjustments while others look like acrylic paintings. The ability to create film-paint-styled blends so convincingly and across many different photography genres is what makes Tobin one of the best fine art photographers in Portland.
4. Ben Coffman
In Ben’s words: “This is my invitation to you: Take a deep breath. Let the darkness close around you. Together we can float, eyes skyward.” His poetic invitation is realized as we look through his very first album, featuring the night sky and stars rendered in an ethereal, high-dynamic range fashion. Ben brings wide-angle views and astrophotography expertise to tell the story of wild spaces in the dark. The Milky Way, constellations, and other night-sky wonders readily lost to light pollution accent mysterious forests and misty mountains in his images. Ben’s also well-acquainted with human-made landscapes, as his cityscape images attest. We particularly enjoy his monochrome long-exposure works, which combine high-contrast, brightly lit scenes with clouds that artistically streak across glass-smooth waters. Ben’s color photography is punchy yet realistic and keeps you coming back for a second look.
Based in Portland, OR, and Maui, HI, Susan Seubert is a fine art photographer, as well as a photojournalist for National Geographic. Her work is intelligent and provocative, lending a reflection on history, cultural norms, conflict, art, and other diverse subjects. She takes approaches that surprise us into quiet fascination; for example, her Iraqi Extraction series is a fascinating fine-art presentation with a solid historical documentary-focused foundation. Susan uses a variety of media in her work, including silver gelatin, platinum, tintype and wet-plate collodion.
As a fine art portrait photographer, Charles Waugh creates photographs specifically designed for wall-art installations. He has three signature styles: Classical Azure, which uses an elegant, timeless blue background, vintage furniture, and tasteful vignetting for a finished heirloom portraiture look. Then there’s High Fashion White, combining a bright studio style with casual, relaxed natural pose techniques for a fresh yet professional look. And lastly, On Location, which entails Charles going wherever best suits the needs of his clients to shoot his fine art portraiture. On Location works favor saturated earth tones and even natural light techniques that give a gentle, realistic rendering to his images. Charles’s framed portraits are fabulous and exactly what we’d expect from one of the best fine art photographers in Portland.