The Cultural Landscape: Part 3

Text and photographs by KB DIXON

As with the portraits in previous episodes of this series, I focused on the talented and creative people whose diverse heritages are destined to become part of our cultural history.

My aspirations remain the same: to document the contemporary cultural landscape and produce decent photography, photography that recognizes the medium’s allegiance to reality and that preserves for me and others a unique and honest sense of the subject.

Environmental details have again been kept to a minimum. The subjects have the frame to themselves and don’t compete with the context for attention. This allows for a simpler, more brutal and more intense encounter with the character.


Chris Ayzoukian

Ayzoukian is the executive director of the newly opened center Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, in Beaverton. Previously, he held various positions at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. He directed the production of more than 200 concerts a year. During his tenure at the LA Phil, he led the planning and execution of radio and recording projects as well as the critically acclaimed LA Phil Live at the cinema, a series broadcast live in 450 theaters in the United States and Canada. A classically trained pianist and composer, he holds an undergraduate degree in music theory and composition and an MBA from Loyola Marymount University.


Samantha Van der Merwe

Van Der Merwe is the founder and artistic director of shake the tree theater: “Among Portland’s finest theater companies, offering a wonderful blend of classical and contemporary with an emphasis on the visual.” ~ From Ann Welker, the oregonian

Founded in 2003, Shaking the Tree merges the boundaries of theater and visual arts, offering audiences an unconventional theatrical experience in an untraditional warehouse space.


Steven Bass

Bass served as President and CEO of Oregon Public Broadcasting since 2006. He is the recipient of two Northwest Emmy Awards and has numerous national programming credits to his name. As founding President and CEO of Nashville Public Television, he oversaw the transition of that station from government ownership to an independent, not-for-profit public television station. He was Vice President and Director of Television Stations for WGBH/Boston and spent nearly ten years with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in Washington, D.C. He was also Chairman of the Board of the Association of public television stations and as a board member of NPR. He currently serves on the boards of Public Radio International, the Oregon Symphony and the Oregon East Symphony. In 2008, after a nearly 30-year hiatus, Bass relaunched his musical career as a clarinetist with the Vancouver (Washington) Symphony Orchestra. He is also principal clarinet for the Oregon East Symphony.


Therese Christiansen

Christiansen is head of the photography department at Pacific Northwest College of Art. She earned her MFA in Photographic Studies from ICP Bard and worked as an assistant photographer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for nine years. She has exhibited work in New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle and is a PDN Photo Annual winner, Regional Arts and Culture Council grant recipient, and Wassaic Summer Artist-in-Residence. His work is part of the collection of the Portland Art Museum.



Proper Profile Theater at Imago Theater Portland Oregon

Pierre Frank

Franc is a dancer, teacher, choreographer and acting artistic director of Oregon Ballet Theater. After eight years with Houston Ballet and three with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Franc joined OBT as a soloist in 2015 and was promoted to principal dancer at the end of his first season. He has choreographed, produced and directed original works for OBT and OBT2.


Previously in the series:

  • The cultural landscape: 11 portraits. theater manager Marissa Wolfmusician Darrell Grantmuseum film director Amy Dotsonred door project manager Kevin JonesBookseller Emily Powellphilanthropist and art collector Jordan Schnitzervisual artist Jeff Gunnactor and singer Ithic Tellguitarist Scott Kritzereditor Rhonda Hughespoet John Beer.
  • The cultural landscape: part 2. Musician and composer Kenji Bunchopera conductor Priti Gandhiactor and director Dan Murphycontemporary art leader Victoria Freydancer and choreographer Shaun Lockresponsible for landscape and urban planning Zeljka C. Kekezvisual artist Barry Pelznerpoet and editor Suzanne Mooremusician and composer Cal Scottindependent writer and filmmaker Kelley Baker.