2019: Photo Journal


The thing about photographs is that you need light to make them. And so, despite the darkness I've felt at times throughout the year, these are some of my most memorable moments and photographs from 2019.

November 2018 - Catskill Mountains, New York

2019 actually started at the end of 2018. I was living temporarily in Rochester, New York while looking for a job in Europe. In November 2018 I made the spontaneous decision to fly to Rome, Italy to make a good impression on a company I was hoping to work for. Walks is a sightseeing and cultural tourism company based in Dublin, Ireland. They seemed to be doing interesting things in different countries around the world, Italy in particular. This picture was taken during my 5 hour drive through the Catskill Mountains from Rochester to Stewart International Airport, just north of New York City. They had a really cheap flight to Rome that was about to change my life.

November 2018 - Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Italy

This was my first time to Rome and the job hunt was a good excuse to experience all its history and put up with the tourists. I asked my friend, Banz (pictured here), who lives in Switzerland to fly down and join me for two days of walking tours of all the greatest hits. I didn't tell Walks I was doing this ahead of my first interview with them, but the resulting experience and photographs did indeed make a good impression and I got the job.

January 2019 - Dublin, Ireland

I accepted the job with Walks in December and moved myself to Dublin on the 31st, just in time to start a new life in the new year. A couple weeks later I made my first trip of the year to Kiev. I was full of hope.

February 2019 - Chase Design in Skaneateles, New York

Before moving to Dublin, I had committed myself to a freelance photo project in upstate New York that I flew back for. I spent three days photographing the people and creative culture of Chase Design. It was one of those rare occasions where I am paid well to do something I really enjoy and that comes fairly naturally to me. Whether it's in a challenging environment or from the relative comfort of a cafe in Skaneateles, New York, it was nice to know that I can disarm people enough for them to relax and be themselves. And to make something useful to others. More of these photographs can be seen here.

February 2019 - Chase Design in Skaneateles, New York

February 2019 - Madrid, Spain

A group of Walks guides gather in central Madrid early one morning as we prepare to spend the day seeing all kinds of things. As Creative Director I was responsible for a small team of writers and designers building the Walks brand and ideal guest experience. I began to travel to some of the cities we operated in, to experience what we did first hand and to enhance and document it all. It was fun and satisfying making things in the studio and to be able to take them directly into the field and see people's reaction to them.

February 2019 - Segovia & Toledo, Spain

Not bad to be wined and dined on a beautiful afternoon basking in the legend of Don Quixote and peering up at a 2000 year old Roman aqueduct in Segovia.

February 2019 - The Royal Palace of Madrid, Spain

We had the whole place to ourselves and I remember very well how it felt, to feel so privileged and inspired. I felt fortunate that this was my job, and at the same time growing worried about it.

March 2019 - London, England

I made a weekend trip to London to catch Manchester United play Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium and for a quick visit with my cousin, Vivien. Of course I had to include my picture of her daughter, Molly. It was nice to be able to take little adventures like these, something European airlines and short distances made reasonable. The game ended up being a bit miserable, with United suffering a dull 1-0 loss and a cold rain falling on me throughout the night.

March 2019 - The Palace of Westminster, London, England

March 2019 - Iryna by the Rock of Cashel, Ireland

The thing I most looked forward to now living in Dublin was Iryna being able to visit me much more freely. She came for a week in March and during that time we spent a few days touring the countryside. We went to Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, drove the coastal roads around Kerry, hunted romantic old castles, and stopped in Lismore to visit friends.

March 2019 - with Iryna in Dublin and the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

March 2019 - Stephens Green, Dublin, Ireland

March 2019 - Athens, Greece

Another trip as Creative Director with Walks was to Athens, Greece. This would be my first time there, the first couple days of which were very busy pulling an event together for all our guides. After that I very much enjoyed just wandering around the city and sites on my own and making photographs.

March 2019 - Athens, Greece

Ahead of the trip I had always been fascinated by these unique statues in the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium. The two-sided Herms figures from Roman times were found during excavations of the stadium site in the mid 1800's. It was quite surreal to be standing there next to them, both occupying rather abrupt positions at the closed end of the stadium's oval.

March 2019 - The Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece

Perhaps my favorite photograph from my time and travels with Walks. We visited the actual Acropolis early in the morning—a very very windy morning. Later in the afternoon we were here in the museum getting more insight into what we had seen earlier. This view is quite extraordinary. I'd highly recommend experiencing the Acropolis this way. The real thing first and then the museum. Everything makes so much more sense and if you start early enough you can beat the throngs of tourists.

More photographs from my work with Walks can be seen here >

May 2019 - Dublin, Ireland

I had to sell my previous Moots bicycle six months prior in order to fund other priorities. Perhaps earlier than I should have, I had placed an order for a new one which would take several months to have built. The bike had just arrived and was parked outside my new home on Kiran Street in Stoneybatter, Dublin. It was a lovely little brick row house with a bright red door.

Unfortunately, behind the scenes at work there were problems emerging that were going to test my patience. I chose to confront an immoral boss knowing that I would be fired for it. It doesn't matter how right I was, I handled it poorly and by the end of April I'd be out.

May 2019 - Dublin, Ireland

The inclusion of this picture might lead you to believe cooking is a normal creative endeavor for me. You'd be wrong. The previous Christmas my stepmom Sue recorded a video of her showing me how to make kiflis, a Hungarian family delicacy. In preparation for a trip to Kiev to visit Iryna, I made my first attempt at them. They turned out pretty good so I'm told. I had fun in that moment even though on the inside it felt more like I was trying to prop myself up.

May 2019 - St. Anthony Caves in Chernihiv, Ukraine

I think I ended up making 6 trips to Ukraine during course of the year. Ira and I sometimes ventured out of Kiev to explore other parts of the country. This time we went north to the town of Chernihiv where we explored the St. Anthony caves under the Trinity-Elias Monastery. I remember we walked a lot over those two days. She had a headache and I had a craving for orange Fanta, but we managed well and enjoyed the excursion.

May 2019 - Howth, Ireland

My dad and Sue visited me in Dublin just before I was due to move away. It had long been Sue's wish to visit Ireland, so it was good timing in that respect. I took them to the same castle I had taken Iryna a few months prior. We also visited the ancient passage tombs at Newgrange which were pretty interesting. I made this picture of them on a sea wall in the town of Howth just north of Dublin.

May 2019 - Rock of Cashel, Ireland

June 2019 - Lismore, Ireland

May was a rather challenging month for me personally and professionally, so it was nice to be able to visit with my old friend, Jane and Brian. Jane was my boss in the late 90's in San Francisco and I've been a big fan of hers ever since. In fact, there have been many times in life when I didn't know which way to go with something and I'd ask myself, "What would Jane do?" Unfortunately, I didn't always listen. Jane and Brian had moved from Montana to the Irish countryside about 3 years prior, renovating a lovely little house that they made me feel right at home in.

June 2019 - with Jane and Brian in Lismore, Ireland

June 2019 - Kiev, Ukraine

With all my stuff moved back to Budapest, I spent 5 weeks in Kiev during the months of June and July. Things were going well even as I searched for a new job. There's a small hill in Kiev that's used for skiing and sledding in the winter time. During the summer, people picnic and listen to music there. Ira and I have been here a few times for dinner and this night was a good one. Also in June I dragged Ira to see the KISS concert at the big Olimpiyskiy Stadium. It was a guilty pleasure of mine or a desperate attempt to cling to my youth. I spent the afternoon buying up all the proper face paint I could find so I could get us made up for the concert as Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. This enthusiasm was not shared, but the concert was pretty fun anyway.

July 2019 - Lombok, Indonesia

Iryna and I took a two week trip to Bali and Lombok in Indonesia in early July. If not for her love of this sunny place I'd probably never experience the unique culture and environment of this part of the world. We spent the first week on Lombok and the second on Bali. We loved traveling around, the moped driving, the secluded beaches, the private villas, the snorkling, surf lessons, etc.

July 2019 - Taman Soekasada Ujung, Bali, Indonesia

July 2019 - Bali, Indonesia

Tooling around by moped was one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip. Crazy at times, but that too made it interesting and fun. Ironically I ended up getting pretty banged up and rather exhausted during this vacation. But it was a pretty cool experience and I'm really glad I did that.

More pictures from the trip are here >

July 2019 - Senggigi Beach, Bali, Indonesia

August 2019 - Budapest, Hungary

Not remarkable in itself, but London Coffee Society is my usual and favorite place for breakfast in Budapest. The best scrambled eggs on toast in the world! I know what you're thinking, "it's just scrambled eggs on toast," but you'd be wrong. Anyway, it's included here because in feels like home and I was glad for any moment this year that felt like home.

August 2019 - Budapest, Hungary

My group bike rides around Budapest were great, but far too few in number. August also saw a visit from Iryna and her mother, Nina. I loved playing tour guide to the both of them and felt so honored to be able to show her mom around Budapest. The picture above is from when we all got together with my uncle John, Krisztina and Mollie in Normafa Park. These three days were a lot of fun.

August 2019 - Ira and her mom in Budapest, Hungary

August 2019 - Kiev, Ukraine

Just before moving to the States, I made another visit to Kiev. Ira and I stopped by her mother's office for some tea. I love this picture of the two of them.

September 2019 - Portland, Oregon

Upon arriving back in Portland, Oregon to start my new job I picked up a new car to go with it, and then found some pretty good tacos at the food trucks on North Mississippi Ave.

August 2019 - Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood, Oregon

Just before starting work, I set off on a three day hike around Mt. Hood on what's called the Timberline Trail. About half of it is also the Pacific Crest Trail, which is partly why I came. Again, I'm clinging to little traces of home. Here's what was really remarkable about this 7-8 day period of time: I went from Kiev to Budapest to pack up all my stuff. Then flew to San Francisco (it was cheaper!) and drove a rental car up to Portland. Picked up a new car at the VW dealer. Put my stuff in a storage unit (which was promptly stolen two days later). Then I headed up to the mountains for this hike. The next day I would start my new job. I did all that in a week!

September 2019 - Ziba Design, Portland, Oregon

Nine years after leaving my job at Ziba Design, I'm now back as a Creative Director. I'm very grateful for the confidence Sohrab and the leadership team had in wanting me back. I live in a small apartment about a 15 minute walk from the office. I tend to wake up about 5am and get to the office by 6, stopping along the way at Lovejoy Bakery to pick up a coffee and breakfast sandwich. I like having the office to myself for a couple hours each morning. Well, just me and George, the giant styrofoam robot.

October 2019 - from Kiev, Ukraine to the Badlands of South Dakota

In late September I made a trip back to Kiev to visit Ira for a week. I worked during this time as well at my usual co-working office. On my way back, I got off the plane in New York to pick up some of the furniture and stuff I had stored at my dad's house in New York. I drove it all back across the country in 4 days. Here I was driving through the Badlands of South Dakota as the sun came up. I've been through this area several times before, but this was the first time so early in the morning. It was pretty magical.

October 2019 - Ziba Design, Portland, Oregon

I'm finally getting stuck in at work, getting reacquainted with things and getting some interesting work done. Here I'm leading a four day collaborative work session with 11 people from my client's team. We're envisioning what the design of their retail stores and customer experience should be.

November 2019 - Portland, Oregon

Exploring my Northwest Portland neighborhood in early November. This is taken in the Japanese Gardens in Washington Park, just a short walk from where I live.

December 2019 - Budapest, Hungary

Over our Thanksgiving holiday I made a quick trip back to Budapest, where Ira met me. While there we met up with my friend Adrienn and was properly introduced to her new baby girl. We all enjoyed a coffee at the big Starbucks next to Szell Kalman ter, a popular transit hub on the Buda side of the city. Throughout my two years living in Budapest, this particular Starbucks was my third place. The city was lit up for Christmas and quite beautiful, but the trip didn't go as well as I would have hoped.

December 2019 - Portland, Oregon

The two week holiday break from work came too late, or too early, depending on how I choose to look at it. I had been anticipating Ira coming to stay with me, but these plans it would seem were falling through. I did my best to distract myself from that. The day before Christmas I drove up to Mt. Hood to go skiing for a few hours. It's nice to be back in the Pacific Northwest and have the mountains so close. Though it's good to get out, in some ways it's harder to be alone while around so many families and friends doing things together.

December 2019 - Cannon Beach, Oregon

It was a quiet Christmas Day. I drove out to Cannon Beach and walked around for a few hours. Came back and started working on this. It's been an eventful and sometimes jarring year, which is probably why I'm quite okay with the relative quiet of life back in Portland. Proof perhaps that two opposing things can be true at the same time. Happy, sad, etc., etc.

It's quite something to have a year of your life reduced to a single webpage, and even more if you read between the lines. But there's clarity in that I suppose. I'm very grateful for all these experiences and the lessons, and those that I shared them with. Tomorrow is a new year. And so it goes.