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Serena Davidson 12 January 2008

Serena Davidson

Free-Range People Photographer, Geek Magnet, Entreprenuer, Chocolate Fiend

Serena is a 4th generation professional photographer who is also a 5th generation Northwest native. Her work has been published around the country in numerous publications and websites including The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, The Oregonian, Dance Magazine, Barista Magazine and Bitch. Being a Portland based professional creative was a decision that brought her to town over seven years ago to enjoy the coffee, progressive attitudes, creative communities and bike lanes. Photo assignments Serena enjoys most are author photos, film stills, behind the scenes documentary shots, annual report imagery, and nudes. Locally her name is most recognizable for portraiture and performance imagery she has captured during the Time Based Art Festival with the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art. A selection of these images and other work can be viewed at

What are you up to?

One of the most amazing recent assignments I’ve had was being invited to photograph a 60 year old couple in their birthday suits at a local nude beach. They had decided to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary by getting naked pictures of themselves together for the first time ever. I’m not sure exactly how I got referred to them as the photographer for the job – but I’m really glad I was. They were super sweet people and I felt honored to be invited to visually document their time tested mutual adoration. They were so genuinely in love with each other that I was convinced to end my hiatus from dating.

What are you into?

Over time I’ve come to realize that the majority of my favorite people are writers and illustrators. Combined with choosing friends who like to make me laugh, this has led me directly into the local community of comics creators. Last year I tabled with my friend SurlyBen at The Stumptown Comics Festival. I’m planning to be there again this year…maybe even with my own work to show?!?

What do you like most about Portland?

I’m torn between too many choices for this – but something that stands out right now is the way this city has envisioned and maintained usable public space. My favorites are Washington Park, The Eastbank Esplanade, every bicycle friendly space, and the numerous cob benches, community bulletin boards and structures scattered across Portland by volunteers of the Village Building Convergence.

Bike culture here is awesome too! From organizations offering free bike commuting workshops to girls in pink outfits dancing with pink mini bikes.

What experiences over the past decade do you consider the highlights of your photography career?

Meeting Dr. Jane Goodall, the entire Sonics team, Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt, photographing performance artists from around the world including Diamanda Galas with the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, capturing Neil Gaiman and Henry Selick behind the scenes on the Coraline set with Focus Features and LAIKA, ¬†as well as being invited to document the children of migrant farm workers for the Oregon Child Development Coalition annual report. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be asked time and again to work with and photograph such talented and genuine individuals.

How do you thrive during a Portland winter?

Cashmere socks, Stumptown Coffee, cooking curried chickpeas from the recipe in my favorite comic ‘cooking with anne‘, eating copious amounts of fresh salmon sushi, long walks during the daylight hours, intimate conversations with friends, daydreaming ideas into reality, playing with my photos, Breitenbush hot springs, and a healthy dose of drinking chocolate at Cacao.


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