Sharon Lavier O’Keefe

Sharon O'KeefeA native Oregonian, Ms. O’Keefe has been a freelance photographer for over 30 years and is the founder of the Northwest Center for Photography. She has taught photography classes independently and through Portland Community College for nearly 15 years. She is a gifted teacher and talented photographer. She inspires her students to find new ways to see the world in a positive and encouraging environment. She is committed to educating individuals with an interest in photography. Her goal is to help others find the joy, passion, and personal enrichment that photography has brought to her life.

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Jody Ake

Avila photoJody Ake creates portraits, nudes, still lifes and landscape images using the wet collodion process, an historic photographic technique which involves using a large format camera and glass plates.

He is one of a handful of contemporary artists who have revived this photographic method, hand-mixing all of the necessary chemicals for each and every exposure.

Ake has won numerous awards and contests including two Lucie Awards, Critical Mass and Photo District News contests. Just prior to relocating to Portland, Ake shot a series of portraits for New York Magazine's article "Knocking on Harlem's Door."

He holds a MFA from the University of Oregon and a BFA from the College of Santa Fe.



Dina Avila

Avila photoDina Avila has been interested in light as long as she can remember. Avila recounts, “Mornings as a child were spent watching the world go by through the kitchen window instead of eating breakfast.” When Avila picked up a camera in 1995, she finally realized this was how she viewed the world.

Avila graduated with honors from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas where she focused on the importance of social documentary photography. Her professors named her “Photographer of the Year” and she was selected as a finalist for the Eddie Adams Workshops.

Dina Avila has extended her passions to food photography, and the culture of food, while continuing to pursue personal documentary projects. Avila is based in Portland, Oregon.

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Pat Bognar

Pat Bognar photoPat Bognar taught photography for eight years in Paris, France. Since moving to Portland, Pat has taught at Portland State University, University of Portland and the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Her workshops provide a dynamic, hands-on, group experience in an energetic and supportive environment. Pat's not only a passionate and gifted teacher, she's also a very talented photographer. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh in Amsterdam, and the Regional Arts and Culture Council's Visual Chronicle of Portland.

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Larry Cwik

Larry Cwik photoBorn in West Virginia and raised in Pittsburgh, Larry was already serious about photography before moving to Oregon in 1982. Though he travels abroad several times a year, Larry loves Oregon and photographs here regularly—inspired by the coast, mountains and high desert. 

He has taught private workshops at U-Develop Darkroom and tries to bring the best out of each student. He believes creativity is within us all. 

Cwik has exhibited extensively in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the United States with several solo shows in Europe since 1983. Notable series to date include: Totems, Industrial Districts and The Visitor: 29 Years Photographing Mexico. His work is in collections of the Portland Art Museum, Bank of America, Levi Strauss and Company and Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

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Julie DuBose

Julie DuBose was raised in Fort Worth, Texas and was educated at Wellesley College in Boston. She became a student of Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Chögyam Trungpa, the author of Dharma Art, in 1975. Julie lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia from 1990 to 2006 where she first began studying Miksang with Michael Wood. She has been studying and practicing and teaching Miksang Photography for 12 years. She is one of the principal instructors and teaches all Miksang Levels. Julie is also the author of the Miksang Life Blog.

Julie has also been a practitioner and teacher of Jin Shin, Jyutsu (Japanese Acupressure) for 20 years.



Laurie Excell

Laurie ExcellLaurie Excell spent the first 25 years of her career in photographic sales helping pros and hobbyists alike decide which photographic equipment best suited their needs. All the while, she was an avid photographer. In 2000, she left sales to become a full-time professional wildlife and nature photographer. She has been published in Outdoor Photographer, Outdoor Photography (UK), Photoshop User, Elements Techniques and Layers magazines. You will also find her photography on Audubon calendars, as well as postcards, calendars and posters for the National Park Service.

As if that's not enough, Laurie also leads wildlife photography safaris in North America and is an instructor with the Digital Landscape Workshop Series, Photoshop World, and Cruising Through Life training extravaganzas. She also runs a business called EQuipmentLady, where she sells photographic equipment on consignment for other photographers when they upgrade their equipment. Oh, and in all of her spare time, she's the Photo Equipment Advice Desk Guru for NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals).

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Gary Hilton

Gary HiltonGary Hilton has taught photography, film and video production—and geology. Gary combined some of these interests in his graduate thesis in Remote Sensing (interpretation of satellite images for environmental research). He has taught darkroom and photography classes at Portland Community College and has been teaching Photoshop classes for the last eight years. Gary is very enthusiastic about Photoshop and the digital darkroom because it offers photographers tremendous power and control in fine-tuning their expressive interpretations of the photographic image.

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Michael Horodyski

Gary HiltonMichael Horodyski is an adult educator who has for 40 years facilitated workshops worldwide. His passion is helping people grow and thrive both individually and in the community. Michael was a Peace Corps volunteer; has volunteered at the Oregon Coast Aquarium; and currently volunteers at i witness gallery. He also is a volunteer photographer for a variety of local organizations.

Michael’s photography interests tend to take him outdoors where he creates landscape, wildlife and environmental portraits. As part of the team at the Northwest Center for Photography, Michael helps foster learning and community by encouraging collaboration between photographers of all levels.

Michael has degrees in psychology and education and currently lives in Portland, Oregon. You can view more of Michael’s work at

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Dave Hutt

Dave HuttDave Hutt has been in professional photography since his apprenticeship in 1973. Since that time he has owned or managed studios and color labs throughout the west. An award-winning photographer, he now devotes his career to photography education. He is a founding partner in DMD Digital Dental Photography, a photographic training and consulting firm, and lectures with groups and schools around the United States on lighting, dental and medical, and forensic photography. He is a 1975 graduate of the University of Wyoming.

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Don Jacobson

Don JacobsonThe world of photography and the world of the natural wonders of the Sierra Nevada opened to Don Jacobson simultaneously. The photographs he took with his little Kodak Brownie were woefully inadequate to express the grandeur of the range of light. Within a week of his first backpack trip into the high country, he bought his first SLR—a Pentax Spotmatic and began to take photography classes and seriously pursue this newfound passion.

Don’s love for taking photographs of the Northwest’s beautiful native wildflowers also contributed to his interest in botany. As a result, Jacobson has led trips for the California Native Plant Society, the Native Plant Society of Oregon, Bark, Oregon Wild (formerly ONRC) and the Portland Audubon. For 16 seasons, he was a naturalist/guide for the Middle Mountain Foundation, leading hikes in the Sutter Buttes of the Sacramento Valley in California.

Books published of his photographs include Beauty of the West (2007), Owner Decorated Vehicles (2009) and Alaska! (2010).

Jacobson’s degree is in electrical engineering, and he worked in that field for three years. Working for the defense industry became more of a contradiction with his political views, initiating a search for a desperately needed creative outlet. For the next 28 years, he worked as a glassblower. His work was shown in galleries across the United States, and the Corning Museum included a piece of his in their 1986 collection of 200 international glassblowers. Although glassblowing was his “day job,” he continued to practice the art of photography, studying photography with Edmund Teske at UCLA for a year. The two different mediums are connected by light. The magic of glass is in its ability to transmit and reflect light while photography is the capturing of light.

During the years Jacobson lived in the San Francisco Bay area, he amassed 135 images of owner-decorated vehicles. His photographs have been published in Nature Photographer, Color and Black & White as well as winning numerous awards. He is currently a member of the Portland Photographer’s Forum and the Interim Group, a critique group originally formed by the influential photographer Minor White.

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Gregg Kerber

Brenda ManookinGregg Kerber is a landscape photographer who has lived in the Northwest his entire life. His passion for photography goes back to the early 1980s. Gregg is on the leadership team for the Portland/Vancouver Photography Meetup Group and has led several outings and workshops throughout the Northwest.

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Brenda Manookin

Brenda ManookinBrenda Manookin is an award-winning freelance photographer and documentary filmmaker based in the Pacific Northwest.

Manookin has more than 10 years of photographic experience and has covered a variety of subjects including health conditions in Afghanistan to Hurricane Katrina and beyond. Her work has been seen in numerous exhibitions and publications throughout the United States and Canada including Digital Photo Pro, Pacific Coast Business Times, Ventana Monthly, The Daily Herald, as well as multiple national and international film festivals.

She is a graduate of Brooks Institute, with a degree in Visual Journalism and has received awards from College Photographer of the Year and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2007, she was a Barnstorm XX attendee at the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop.

She currently lives in Portland, Oregon and is available for commissioned work of any genre worldwide.

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Ben Mund

Ben MundBen Mund is a commercial and creative portrait photographer based in
Portland, Oregon. He was born in San Francisco, California, the last time people took bellbottoms and headbands seriously and was lucky to be surrounded by artists in the community where his parents taught and lived. Eventually moving to the emerald forests of Northern California when he was still a young lad, he found it necessary to create a balance of both urban and rural lifestyles. He likes to invoke that twilight feeling of fantasy and possibility combined with how we interact with each other enveloped in our own urban nests of creation.

Ben loves the human experiment and how it occasionally reminds us how we haven’t done any of this before, and therefore compels us to find the sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful way to make things up as we go along.

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Dana Murray

Ben MundDana Murray has always been fascinated with photography. Ever since pondering the strange silver cube that sat atop her parent's camera as a child, and then accidentally throwing away the little yellow film barrel (whoops), she’s been intrigued by it. But it wasn’t until working as a tour guide at Middleton Place Plantation in Charleston, SC in the 1990s that her love of photography really grew. She sees photos everywhere she goes—in lines, curves and patterns of everyday life. 

Her self-taught specialty is water drop photography, which she has been doing since March 2008. With a talent towards creative, an eye for detail and a fair amount of obsession, she spends several painstaking hours on each shoot; setting up and making minuscule adjustments then taking hundreds of photos until she gets the shot she’s looking for. 

She also likes to photograph macros, nature, vintage cars and flowers. Her integrity, eye for beauty and skill behind the camera has earned her respect from her peers—amateur and professional alike.

After a long career in business, she moved on to more creative ventures. She is on the leadership team of two photography groups, the Portland Vancouver Photography Meetup group and Portland Image Makers, where she regularly leads popular, full events such as day trips of old barns and back country road tours. She has also assisted and taken photos at all the official BBQ competitions in Oregon and Washington for the past four years.

Dana is also a long time volunteer, working with kids—anything from doing mock interviews for job programs, to teaching kids about salmon habitat at the river, to being an FBLA competition judge. She is a master crepe maker and also enjoys camping, hiking, jewelry wire working and spending time with her family.

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Jim Nicholson

Ben MundAs with many photographers, my interest in photography was sparked at a fairly early age, and this ever-increasing interest continued well into my twenties. Then life happened, and due to its constraints the hobby I loved had to be shelved. Later, with the development of high-quality DSLRs, I was able to start shooting again, and I found my hobby had become my passion. 

Over the past 8–10 years, I have taken—and continue to take—a wide range of photography classes from instructors with varied specialties, passions and expertise. As I learned more (never one to keep quiet when someone needs help), I frequently became an unofficial assistant in many of these classes—helping classmates with questions ranging from various camera functions to exposure techniques and composition. 

Recently, I have taken the next step and am teaching my own classes. Since I feel that guided experience is the best teacher, I choose to do a combination of classroom and field workshops with the emphasis on the fieldwork. 

While I am primarily a nature photographer, I also do travel, urban, event and sports photography. Each of these disciplines has its attributes and has provided me a broad range of knowledge and experience to assist those wanting to advance down the path of creativity known as photography.

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Luke Olsen

Ben MundLuke Olsen is an active night photographer in Portland, Oregon. He is a member of the local Innerlight photography group and is also active in the PDX Strobist group. Luke daylights as the CTO of HPnorthwest, a financial services firm.

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George Olson

George OlsonGeorge Olson, former director of photography of Sunset magazine, began his career with 12 years as a newspaper photographer, then moved to San Francisco in 1977, where he was based as a freelancer for 20 years. He shot for many different publications, including National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian and The New York Times, and had many corporate clients as well.

During that time, he also served as a freelance picture editor for the San Francisco Examiner, and many in the series of Day in the Life... books. He was also a picture editor on the books Christmas in America, Jews in America, One Earth, and The Power to Heal, all produced by the Day in the Life staff.

He was director of photography of the Collins book, Baseball in America, and edited Planet Vegas for the same publisher. Since 1992, he has served on the faculty of the Missouri University Photo Workshop. From 1999 to 2006, he was on the faculty of the Book Passage Travel Photography workshop, and he has taught three photography workshops through, and taught at the Photography at the Summit workshop in Jackson Hole. He also has taught photojournalism as an extension course for the University of California, Berkeley. He has served as a judge for several competitions, including Pictures of the Year; Best of Photojournalism; Women's Conference on Photojournalism; and the Western Magazine Publishers Maggie awards.

He is a member of ASMP, NPPA and ASPP.

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Patty Reksten

Patty Reksten photoPatty Reksten was director of photography at The Oregonian for 12 years. She came to the newspaper in January 1998 after 14 years as a professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism. Before that, she worked as a reporter, photographer and editor at various newspapers.

Duties at The Oregonian not only included working with photographers but other editors and reporters on a daily basis. She posted photo galleries on the Web and edited stills and videos for online. She handled personnel issues for the staff of 30 and also directed ethical and legal photographic coverage. She also wrote a travel column for a few years.

Reksten and the photographers and picture editors won numerous awards during the years she was at The Oregonian. One of the photographers was named Newspaper Photographer of the Year for Photographer of the Year International (POYi). The picture editing staff placed first, second and third in many POYi categories including second place for best use of photography. A staff photographer won several first place awards in the sports categories of POYi.  The staff also won numerous Society of News Design photography awards, Society of Professional Journalists, American Society of Newspaper Editors and other national and regional contests. 

She taught Stan Kalish Picture Editing Workshops for several years and has been a faculty member of the Missouri Photo Workshop and the Mountain Workshop as well as several regional ones. She taught high school publication workshops and numerous classes on how to take effective photographs. Reksten has twice been a judge for Pictures of the Year International (POYi). 

As a photographer, she won numerous awards including first place sports action in Pictures of the Year.

She is now on the Board of Directors of a newly formed organization, the Northwest Center for Photography where professional photographers teach workshops. The center also has a gallery (i Witness Gallery) and Reksten is one of the curators. 

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Evan G. Schneider

Evan SchneiderAs chief photographer at the Oregon Historical Society for 17 years, Evan worked with historic images and documentary photography as well as recording traditional artists for the Folklife Program, developing exhibit photographs and utilizing the archival images to explore Oregon's cultural landscape.

Evan loves to take pictures and photography has been a lifelong passion, which started with growing up in Cameroon, West Africa, where his father inspired him as he used photography to record the traditional people and places around him. After earning his BFA, Evan returned to Cameroon for a tour in the Peace Corps and again to teach photography in northern Nigeria. Several years later, he completed a Masters degree in Visual Anthropology at Oregon State University. The major focus of Evan's work has been documenting culture and working with his historic archive of African images.

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Michael Schoenholtz

Evan SchneiderReturning to his first vocation as a photographer after a successful career as a business executive, Michael draws upon his life experience as a husband, father, foodie and world traveler to appreciate beauty in all its forms.

In the process of re-familiarizing himself with the right side of his brain, Schoenholtz has developed a diverse set of photography styles and takes a lot of satisfaction in teaching others what he’s learned along the way.

Working with publicly traded companies, local businesses, not-for-profits and individuals, Michael’s work has also been used in articles published by The New Yorker magazine, The Sundance Channel, WNBC New York, Transport Topics and Brown Publishing. Political campaign photography clients include candidates at national, state and local levels.

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Al Stern

Al SternUntil he moved to Portland four years ago, Al was a scientist (who also made photographs). Now he is a photographer (who likes science). The subjects and the language changed, but the job description remained the same: be observant, and tell stories about what you learn—while playing with great toys and meeting interesting people. Al likes unposed images of people best but is a photography slut. He will shoot nearly anything.

For examples of his work go to or see him on Flickr.

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N. Scott Trimble

N. Scott TrimbleN. Scott Trimble grew up in the tall woods of North Carolina on Lake Norman, where he thought water skiing and pulled pork barbecues were as natural as breathing. As a third generation photographer, a camera in his hand wasn’t an uncommon thing for Scott. At first, it was just a method of capturing whatever fun and trouble he was getting into—little did he know it would open up new worlds and become the tool to focus his creative ability to capture life as it happens and bending realities to his vision.

After graduating from Arizona State University in photo journalism and anthropology, Scott worked for newspapers across the country including the Arizona Republic and The Columbian in Vancouver, WA as well as freelancing for The New York Times, New York Post, Raleigh News & Observer, People Magazine and dozens more. He has photographed two Olympic and Paralympics games, major sports teams, ATF raids, ran with bounty hunters and worked on medical documentary projects—including a recent documentary covering orthopedic surgeons performing a mercy mission to aid children in Peru.

Trimble specializes in people and lifestyle photography that is utilized by corporate and editorial clientele worldwide. His talent for capturing the decisive moment has won him numerous awards in sports and feature photography as well as rave reviews from his clients.

In 2003, Scott expanded his visual interests into motion picture cinematography and directing and has worked on short and feature films as well as news documentaries and corporate commercials. 

Scott lives and plays in the Northwest with his wife, infant daughter and their border collie and beagle.

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Julie Verdini

Julie VerdiniJulie is originally an East Coaster who transplanted many years ago to live in and photograph the majestic Pacific Northwest. Julie produces lens-based art in a variety of mediums including fine art photography and experimental filmmaking with a preference for analog film. Her subjects of interest include: the modern landscape, processes of healing, narration and symbology.  

Julie received her degree in film from Emerson College, specializing in cinematography She has worked as a camera repair technician, on-set camera assistant and photo lab technician. She has also had vast experience in producing and directing commercial projects. Julie currently teaches both the technical and aesthetic elements of photography at The Art Institute of Portland.

For inquires about her work you can contact her at

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Michael Wood

Michael Wood is a photographer and teacher, who has devoted his life to helping people open their eyes and minds.

Michael grew up in Canada and went through a traditional photography education at the Sheridan College School of Visual Arts. After that, he worked as a commercial photographer in Toronto for 18 years. In 1979, while becoming increasingly frustrated with conventional photography, he started to bring together his photographic training, meditation experience and studies of the Dharma Art Teachings of Chögyam Trungpa. For three years, he worked at synthesizing these elements into what for him was a new way of looking and seeing, and a fresh body of photographic work.

During this period, Michael evolved methods that form the basis for the photographic approach known as Miksang Contemplative Photography. By 1983, he was ready to teach what he had been learning. He created a series of assignments and visual exercises for a first contemplative photography course that he called Miksang, a Tibetan term meaning “good eye.”

Michael moved to Halifax in 1989. For the next 10 years, he worked as the audio-visual producer for Parks Canada, producing and directing documentary films. He also continued to develop and teach Miksang courses in Canada, the United States and Europe.

For the past 10 years, Michael has worked closely with Julie DuBose to refine, expand and further develop the Miksang teachings and curriculum. Michael now divides his time between Halifax and Boulder, Colorado.

In 2003, a documentary about Michael’s journey with contemplative photography was produced for the Vision TV series “Quiet Minds: Meditation for Real Life.” The segment was called “Miksang Photography: Cultivating the Good Eye.” Michael has also talked about contemplative photography practice on radio shows and podcasts.

Michael is the co-author of The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes published by Shambhala Publications.



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