The West Behind Us @release party

If you’re in Portland, Oregon on May 30th please join Lisa Wells and Bobby Abrahamson for the release of The West Behind Us. This is the limited run collector’s edition made possible by Clark College and The Regional Arts & Culture Council. (Stay tuned for the trade edition)

Volume I Brooklyn gave us a nice shout out today. Read more HERE:    Volume I Brooklyn


Please join photographer Bobby Abrahamson and writer Lisa Wells for a book release party for their new book — The West Behind Us — at Newspace Center for Photography on Friday, May 30th, from 6-8pm. The authors will talk about the project, have copies of the book for sale, and sign copies. Abrahamson will also have a selection of prints from the project on display and for sale.

The West Behind Us documents four small, rural towns in Oregon – Fields, Mitchell, Long Creek and Halfway – investigating the challenges faced by rural communities in an age of increased urbanization and economic depression. In the tradition of WPA era collaborations like James Agee and Walker Evans’ Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, the book includes 44 striking black and white photographs by documentary photographer Bobby Abrahamson, along with extensive interviews with residents, and first-person narrative by author Lisa Wells. As Dave Blanchard of Oregon Public Broadcasting writes about the project: “The two Portland-based artists understood the challenges of accuracy and exploitation inherent in documenting the lives of others. They traveled to the locations separately, not wanting to come across as offering a definitive account of the towns. They instead focused on their personal connections with the towns and the people who live there.” The results are two independent, complementary visions of life in rural America on the cusp of the urban millennium.



New Essay @ Vol. 1 Brooklyn

Today at Vol. 1 Brooklyn, an essay about the Fourth of July I spent in Long Creek, Oregon. (From The 45th Parallel Project)


“At 5:45a.m. I stand in the field behind Long Creek School with a raging hangover while a man staring hard at the morning sky tells me it may be a bad wind for flying. “Wind?” I ask him. Seems to me there’s a pronounced absence of movement in the balmy air. You might describe the atmosphere as crypt-like this summer morning.Inert. “Don’t be so sure,” says the man, with a demonstrative smile. He reaches into the cab of his truck, produces a single black balloon filled with helium, and releases it into the air with a magician’s flair. We crane our necks and watch it shrink fast in the pale blue—like a pupil under a Maglite. The man observes its path, now just pin-dot, and proclaims it was moved only slightly askew.”


Read more here:


The 45th Parallel @ New Pages

We are thrilled that the High Desert Journal was recommended on New pages.

Here’s what they had to say about The 45th Parallel excerpt HDJ published this spring (Issue 15, Spring 2012):

“The writing maintains the high quality I’ve come to expect from High Desert Journal. Two favorites in this issue are Josh Beddingfield’s essay on a desolate corner of southwest Colorado, “Unsettlement,” and Lisa Wells eponymous essay on a similar place further west, “Fields, Oregon”—illustrated with black and white photographs by Bobby Abrahamson. Fields is home to less than a dozen people and is a quick stop to “middle-age liberal types” who complain about the price of gas and ask dumb questions before heading off “to another frontier, to scale the next mountain in their Gore-Tex. To pose and sip vitaminwater and condescend to earth.””

If you don’t know about New Pages yet, it’s worth checking out:


Library Journal: “[One] of the best online portals is, which includes reviews and guides to independent presses and creative writing programs.”

Utne Reader: “One of the 15 websites that could shake the world… NewPages is the web’s alt-press playground.”

Carolyn Kellogg, Jacket Copy, Los Angeles Times: “NewPages is kind of internet old-school in that it’s one site that collects and vets many links (remember when that’s what Yahoo did?)… go over to NewPages for your literary journal fix.”


Bobby Abramson @WillametteWeek

Bobby talks to T.J. Norris!

“In The 45th Parallel, storyteller Lisa Wells and photographer Bobby Abrahamson give a travelogue of rural life in the “small, endangered towns” of central Oregon. We spoke to Abrahamson, who has shot for The New York Times, Time and others, about his growing body of work, photographs that walk a very fine line between journalism and fine art by leaving leeway for interpretation.”