If you ever find yourself lounging on the couch with a morning cup of coffee, lazily staring out the window of your quaint craftsman home into the lens of a woman on the street with an iPhone camera pointed at your front door, don’t panic—it’s probably just local photographer Michele Rider. Moreover, be flattered—your recently painted vintage shutters are about to end up in a dramatic Instagram collection of Portland’s most unique houses.
After moving to North Portland last summer to pursue her career in pet photography, Rider became fascinated by the diverse home styles nestled in her neighborhood—not surprising since she grew up in Orange County, CA, a city filled with monotone, ticky-tacky homes reminiscent of 1950s Disney suburbia.
“Being new to the city I had a curiosity about my newly adopted town and photography has always been a way for me to understand my environment better,” says Rider. “I began setting aside an hour or two of my day to get out and walk around. I always had my iPhone on me and it was a natural thing to begin photographing during these walks—the focus on homes happened almost immediately.”
Using the Hipstamatic Camera app, she shoots with a combination of the John S lens and the BlacKeys SuperGrain film, then imports the pictures directly into Instagram without any additional filters. The results are a haunting, surreal, dreamlike vision of Portland, as if from a dark fairytale. ”The contrast and pop that this combo gives in B&W really suits the aesthetics I was going for in this project: mysterious and visually dramatic. The curiosity behind these homes is the intriguing bit for me; all the fascinating stories and lives that are lived within are a never-ending mystery.”
Rider uses this project as a way to feed her passion as a professional photographer outside of her commercial clientele. You can use your own phone camera skills to win an audience of thousands. Show off your favorite Portland streets, intersections, and houses on Instagram or Twitter using #MYPDX, and we'll choose our favorites to feature on the Portland Monthly website. For inspiration, check out the slide show above and follow Rider’s Instagram feed.