Back in August, I read an article somewhere out there on the Internet about a brand spankin' new restaurant that was opening up on Free St, very close to Monument Square.
Ok, cool. Another restaurant in Portland.
But then I saw the names of the folks involved and recognized Caleb Cole as a name I knew in high school. I played soccer with Caleb and I've seen him a couple of times around Portland since I've been here.
I thought it would be a great chance to help out an old friend and also take a shot at taking some "commercial" photos, which I had never done before. So I offered up my services to owners Krista Cole (Caleb's sister) and Tony Alviar.
I simply wanted experience and exposure, so I asked if they would be okay with me taking photos of their restaurant, Sur Lie (Facebook | Web Site), which would serve great cocktails, wine, and tappas-style dishes, meant for sharing. I said that they could use the photos for anything they like, and I wasn't really looking for any compensation.
If you've read my post about "getting out of my comfort zone" this might be sounding like a familiar story.
We agreed that I would come in during one Saturday and take photos of them working hard on renovating their new space. Then I would come in once they were done with construction and take some photos of the finished product.
The transformation was pretty incredible, as you will see. The first set of photos was taken back in August, when they were in the middle of the renovation. The second set was shot last Friday, when they had a Family and Friends night, to give the restaurant a test-run before opening to the public.
They were extremely grateful and willing to have me come in and take photos of their space. It was truly wonderful working with them. They are great people who have built a beautiful restaurant, that has a unique concept, and an intriguing menu.
They were nice enough to let me try some of their food and drink after I was done shooting on Friday, and everything I had was amazing. I managed to stuff two dishes and two cocktails into my belly before I had to tap out. The cocktails are masterfully crafted by their Bar Manager, Sam. It's obvious that he knows a thing or two about liquor. And Chef Emil Rivera has created an outstanding menu. I highly recommend that you give Sur Lie a try if you are in the Portland area.
All in all, this was an awesome experience. I think I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as a photographer, and I would love to do work like this again. It was quite a challenge, at times, but in the end it was all worth it. I'm so glad I was able to help out Krista and Tony as they launch their business.
Now that you've gotten past the wall of text, please enjoy the images below and let me know what you think!
Family and Friends Night