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A Stranger In Her Own City

Friday January 29th, 2010

Susan Seubert recently had opportunity to be a “stranger” in her own city, shooting a feature story on Portland, OR for National Geographic Traveller. Here’s the opener:

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I say “stranger” to be tongue-in-cheek, but it’s true that travel photographers like Susan often shoot outside their home cities (a little over a year ago she shot the cover story for NGT on San Francisco). And travel photographers need to document their subject matter in a way that appeals to someone who’s not familiar with the destination. Not to mention that Susan spends part of her year in Maui.

Susan on Portland:

It was great to be able to photograph Portland because it is such a rich city on so many levels. The people who live here do so with gusto, so there’s a lot of enthusiasm about the place. I also know it well (making it easier to negotiate a tight schedule) and although I discovered a lot about Portland during the assignment, it’s always different walking around when you have to do so with purpose (I’ve photographed Portland for many other magazines, such as the recently shuttered Gourmet and The New York Times). Cities are in a constant state of change, particularly Portland, so there’s always something new or classic that’s wonderful to photograph.

I learned a lot about the bike culture of Portland.  I photographed no less than 5 different bicycling events, including the annual World Naked Bike Ride. I also rented a cargo bike one day and saw the city by bicycle and was amazed by how many bike routes and lanes there are, making it very simple to get around, even with 50 lbs of equipment!

She’s been shooting for National Geographic Traveller since 2004, and their editor-in-chief Keith Bellows just chose this image for “Traveler’s Best Photos of 2009.”

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You should click on the image or link above to see the slideshow on their website, because Keith explains on the audtio track why each of the “Best” images stood out to him. He chose Susan’s shot of the Sydney, Australia swim club patrons for its whimsy and composition, making it an atypical travel shot.

Susan Seubert is a Portland based photographer with Wonderful Machine.

-Neil Binkley

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