portrait sessions | KCUR

portrait sessions

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

When Dylan Mortimer was in fifth grade, he got a coveted pair of Air Jordans. 

"I was able to get some for about $60 that were a size too small for me," he recalls, "but I knew that was my only chance to afford them. I put them on and I was the envy of the school for about a year."

Of course, wearing shoes a size too small is no fun. "It was miserable and I can't say it really elevated my basketball play," he says with a laugh.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

When alcoholism and addiction landed Bryan Hicks on the streets, it wasn't a spiritual epiphany that sent him searching for help. It was the realization that if he didn't get help, he was going to die.

In those days, his view of Kansas City consisted mostly of cracks in the sidewalks because his head was always hung low, looking for change, a discarded piece of pizza or half a beer left behind by a Westport reveler. Occasional hospital stays felt like spa getaways.

He'd been having seizures. He'd started coughing up blood.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Lee Meisel starts his days by slinging whole pig carcasses over his shoulder and carrying them on his back into the kitchen of his own small restaurant in Lawerence, Kansas. 

He's a slender guy and the pigs weigh about 200 pounds each. "The pigs might have a few pounds on me," he admits.

Perhaps it's not clear, but this is the picture of a man living his dream.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Mará Rose Williams is a reporter for The Kansas City Star. And though her beat is technically higher education, for Williams, it's all about love.

"I really love people," she says. "And my job, I look at it as an opportunity every day to fall in love."

She says that when she meets someone whose story she loves, it gives her the same euphoric feeling as a romantic flame being kindled.

For example, there was the girl she covered who was blind, and wanted to run track for her middle school.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

If you're looking for Will Leathem, he can usually be found behind the counter of Prospero's Books, his irreverent corner shop with creaky wood floors, scattered rugs, and precariously stacked piles of reading material.

That's where he nudges young writers and artists to make work, recommends his favorite books and gets into every kind of conversation imaginable.

Paul Andrews

According to Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, the digital divide is the civil rights issue of the 21st century.

“Having internet access is essential. It’s not a luxury,” she says.

Kositany-Buckner, the deputy director of the Kansas City Public Library, has been working to bridge the digital divide in Kansas City. And the library is the place to do it, she says.

“We provide access to digital content — whether it’s e-books, audio books or research tools you can access online,” says Kositany-Buckner.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Democrat Katheryn Shields, who will take her seat on Kansas City Council on Aug. 1 after a close election win, didn't grow up dreaming of political campaigns, though the Parkville farm where she grew up as an only girl with four older brothers did teach her to be "a bit of a scrapper." 

The Shield

Jul 17, 2015

As she's about to take her seat on the Kansas City, Missouri Council, Katheryn Shields talks about her political career — how she got her start, her accomplishments and how she dealt with with adversaries and scandal.

Paul Andrews

When Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes came in for her photo shoot for the cover of Camp Magazine, she had no idea that she’d be styled as a 1950s housewife holding a rainbow layer cake.

John Long, editorial director of Camp Magazine--KC's monthly publication for LGBTQ and allied communities--talks pride in Kansas City, the emergence and development of his magazine, and the transformation of the scene over time.

Paul Andrews

Eric Wesson of The Kansas City Call says that Kansas City's black community is like Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

"I am a man of substance," wrote Ellison's invisible narrator, "of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids -- I may even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me."

Wesson read those words for the first time in sixth grade, but didn't relate to them until he was in his 20s, at which point, he said to himself, 'Oh, I get it. We're here, but nobody sees us or pays attention to us.'"

Paul Andrews

The first time Danny Cox visited Kansas City, it was not a pleasant experience.

It was 1963, a year before the Civil Rights Act banned racial discrimination in public places, and Cox was a nationally touring musician arriving for a show. When he walked in the door at the Muehelbach Hotel, the clerk told him that black people couldn't stay at the Muehelbach.

Though the word he used for "black people" was not quite so polite.

Most of Cox's fellow musicians and road crew were white, but they refused to stay in a place where their vocalist wasn't welcome.

Paul Andrews

 

Paul Mesner has never been bored. 

"I was a pretty shy kid, but I also was and still am very content to be by myself,"' he says. "There's tons I can do to entertain myself."

In that sense, Kansas City's master puppeteer was his own first audience.

It started with a teddy bear.

Early beginnings

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Many of us tag along with Pitch restaurant critic Charles Ferruzza on his restaurant adventures, enjoying his witty asides as much as his souffle descriptions. He hints at his life story when it's relevant to what's happening at the table, but for the most part, the man behind the meals is a mystery.

When Ferruzza sat down with Central Standard’s Gina Kaufmann for a Portrait Session, he said one thing he’s not is a “foodie.”

Paul Andrews

Connecting to musician Ashley Miller as a performer, when he's on stage or when you're listening to one of his albums, is easy.

The frontman for Kansas City-based indie band Metatone started out in a band called Pewep in the Formats, back in the early 2000s, when he was just a teen.

Paul Andrews

Photographer Paul Andrews committed to taking a portrait, every single day, for the year of 2014. He's 353 days into the project. With 12 days left, Paul talks about what he's learned and tells photo shoot stories, including the one that took place in the middle of the Broadway Bridge... during rush hour.

Paul Andrews is Central Standard's Portrait Sessions photographer.

Paul Andrews

It might be tempting to call Mikal Shapiro and Kasey Rausch two peas in a pod.

Paul Andrews

"A hundred years ago, if you told people that they would have something in their pocket that would make an image that would go all over the world immediately, they would think it was witchcraft."

So says internationally recognized Kansas City artist and provocateur Peregrine Honig. 

If that's the case, then Honig's been up to a whole lot of witchcraft in her artwork lately.

Paul Andrews

Back-breaking labor makes people colorless.

That's how artist Hung Liu remembers it, anyway. At the age of 16, she was sent to the Chinese countryside to live and work without a wage as part of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution. High school had filled her head with too much non-proletarian knowledge; she would have to unlearn it all through hard labor. 

"Working in the cornfield, you sweat. In the morning, you pull the wheat with mud all over your hands. We were colorless," Liu says.

Paul Andrews

Portrait Sessions are intimate conversations with the compelling personalities who populate our area. Each conversational portrait is paired with a photographic portrait by Paul Andrews.

"I am the bone of the bone of them that live in trailer homes."

Paul Andrews

When Central Standard thought about asking Jeffrey Ruckman to create new theme music for the show, one of the things that made him appealing was his masterfully offbeat, genre-bending tendency.

Paul Andrews

Paul DeGeorge and his brother Joe have been writing and performing songs about the trials and triumphs of wizards-in-training since 2002. They look disorientingly similar, and both wear v-neck sweaters and neck ties. Their band, Harry and the Potters, has inspired its own genre: "wizard rock."

It was the younger brother, Joe, who first read the Harry Potter books. In his early 20s when the first books in the series came out, Paul, the older of the DeGeorge brothers, picked them up out of curiosity; he immediately related to the Harry Potter character as a punk.

Paul Andrews

Randy Regier didn't grow up making art.

"I gave no thought to art," he recalls. 

But he did use his imagination to conjure his own reality, which is an artistic process.

"I didn't have much in the way of purchased goods," he says. "I didn't live near a store, so I wasn't one of those kids who could haunt a store after school. ... There was a world of objects out there, and I lived in a world of dirt and chickens and tractors."

One of his prized toys was actually a farm combine.

Paul Andrews / Courtesy photo

Just before her 40th birthday, Yolanda Commack found a lump in her breast. The day of the procedure to have it removed, she was explicitly told not to lift anything. She wasn't fazed. In fact, she went right back to work building trucks at a Ford plant.

When she went in for the results, her doctor asked her whether she wanted the good news or the bad news first. She asked for the good news. 

He said, "The good news is, your stitches are ready to come out."

That's how she found out she had breast cancer. Triple-negative breast cancer, to be specific.

Pages