Portland, ah Portland. A place that has become the dumping ground for America’s stereotypes of alternative living. The city’s recent renown has been shaped largely by a single TV show, Portlandia. Love it or loathe it (the third season has driven most Portlanders toward the latter), there is no denying that Portlandia and its lovable, quirky characters have forged perceptions of the city as a refuge for kid-like adults, crusties, neurotic locavores, trenchant radicals and naive idealists.

When Kirk Crippens, a photographer from San Francisco, was granted a month-long artist residency at NewSpace Center for Photography in Portland, he wanted to test this dominant narrative and hit the streets to meet real people. Throughout the month of April, for his series Portraitlandia, Crippens made 45 portraits. He expected his work to stand in sharp contrast to the fictions of Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, but at the end of it all found that there was significant overlap between their view and his.

“I like the TV show. I was influenced by it subtly. In the same way Portlandia loves the characters and the good life [in Portland], my pictures share a joy that I saw in the city,” says Crippens. “Both projects are drawn to funky culture.”

Ten months before his residency, Crippens reached out to friends in Portland with emails and phone calls asking for contact details for iconic Portlanders.

The collective effort secured portraits with clowns, cuisine-entrepreneurs, a stripper, body modification enthusiasts, the eldest elephant in an American zoo, a sex blogger, a nun, and former Mayor Sam Adams to name a few. Crippens even made a nude portrait of local hero John Brennan who hit international news in July 2012 by keeping it weird and stripping at Portland airport in protest of his treatment going through security. Oregon State law recognizes public nudity when enacted in protest as part of free speech.

[MORE: Portraitlandia Confirms and Refutes Everything You Think About Portland]

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