Portland Editorial Photographer Susan Seubert shoots for Smithsonian Magazine

One of the most interesting things about being an editorial photographer are the environmental portrait assignments.  Sometimes, the photograph is of a person I meet while traveling who is part of a larger story, but most of the portrait assignments are to illustrate a singular person. For this assignment for Smithsonian Magazine, I was to photograph Laura Kutner, a Peace Corps volunteer who rallied a Guatemalan community to turn plastic bottles and trash into building materials.  It’s recycling meets Habitat for Humanity.  You can read the story here.  For this summer’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which is part of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, Kutner will be recreating part of the project she led in Guatemala.

Peace Corps Volunteer Laura Kutner holding plastic bottles at a recycling plant in Oregon

Here's a blurry behind the scenes of our location. A small scoop is a very different term in an industrial recycling facility!

The shoot was done with a 5D Mark II camera, a Canon 24-105 IS USM lens, a Speedlight 580EX flash mounted to a lightweight Manfrotto stand with an umbrella and pocket wizard radio slaves.

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