Will plays football and runs track at Southridge High School and there was one thing he was adamant about when it came to the location of his high school senior portraits: no fields, no flowers.

To the contrary, Will insisted on an urban background. But his Mom still wanted some variety and was hoping that some of Will’s senior pictures could feature some natural areas with trees in the background.

I’m no stranger to disagreements between parents and their high school seniors when it comes to outfit choices and decisions about locations for their senior pictures. In every case, the goal is to satisfy everyone involved, and that’s exactly what we did here.

We started Will’s senior portrait session in the warehouse district of Southeast Portland, near the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The warehouse district in Southeast Portland is known for its vibrant and ever-changing street art and graffiti scene. With its industrial buildings, abandoned lots, and railroad tracks, the area has become a playground for artists looking to express themselves through their work.

Graffiti and street art have a long history in Portland, dating back to the 1970s when the city was home to one of the largest tagging scenes in the country. While some saw graffiti as a form of vandalism, others recognized it as a legitimate form of artistic expression. Over the years, the city has evolved, and so has its relationship with graffiti and street art. In the warehouse district, you can find a wide range of styles and techniques, from elaborate murals to simple tags. Many of the works are commissioned by business owners or property managers, who see the value in adding color and character to their buildings. Others are the work of independent artists, who use the walls and alleys as their canvas.

It is important to note that while there are railroad tracks in the area, they are off-limits as a location for senior portraits. While the idea of taking photos on railroad tracks may seem picturesque and nostalgic to some, many do not realize that it is also illegal and highly dangerous

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, over 500 people are killed each year in the United States due to trespassing on railroad tracks, and a number of those have occurred in Oregon in recent years.

In 2016, a 17-year-old girl in Oregon was killed while posing for photos on railroad tracks. She was hit by a freight train that was traveling at 50 miles per hour, and was unable to move out of the way in time. The tragedy shook the community and highlighted the risks associated with taking photos on railroad tracks.

The danger of taking photos on railroad tracks is not just theoretical. As a high school senior portrait photographer, the safety of my clients and their families is of utmost importance. And in my opinion, the risks of using railroad tracks as a portrait shoot location far outweigh any potential benefits.

Will and I explored several blocks of the warehouse district and captured a variety of senior portraits   with colorful walls, grafiti and street art in the background.  When we had enough, we ventured to nearby Laurelhurst Park where we set out to capture some very different senior portraits for the benefit of Will’s mom.

Laurelhurst Park is a picturesque and popular location for high school senior portraits in Southeast Portland, Oregon. It is open year-round, easily accessible and offers a lush green backdrop along with a stone staircase, walking trails, and a large duck-filled pond.

Whether you are looking for senior pictures in a lush natural environment, or you want a grungy urban look, our studio has you covered.  Learn more at https://www.brianpasko.com/seniors.

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