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Chris Mueller, Photographer

Chris Mueller’s arresting photos of Stumptown employees and compelling slice-of-life glimpses into cafe and roastery life are something to write home about. They are now live at Mueller’s Stumptown tumblr.

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A regular at the Division cafe for years before relocating to New York and back again with a newborn in tow, Mueller set out on this mission as a personal project to “document the current state of Stumptown and the individuals that make it what it is.” (We later commissioned him to shoot our cafes for our website.) His portraits, in particular, really astonished us with their depth, and with what American photographer Robert Adams describes as the rare skill of a great photographer to capture “a tension so exact that it is peace.”

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Mueller’s snapped shots for Oregon tourism, Chris King, Portland Meadows and Paranorman, and answered a few of our questions about the Stumptown project in between shoots.

How did you get into photography? 

A combination of friends and mentors that I admired.

What inspired the move from New York to Portland?

The birth of our daughter.

Are there any types of projects in particular that you are drawn to?

Projects that are utility based and focus on the makers and doers in this world.

What’s your favorite camera for travel that you keep with you?

Fuji 6 x 4.5 rangefinder and Fuji X10

Do you have any professional or creative heroes or mentors?

Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Richard Avedon, Robert Adams, Alec Soth.

What are your influences?

Dieter Rams; Guy Bourdin; “Letters from the people” by Lee Friedlander; owning very few things and driving cross country with our newborn daughter.

What are you really liking right now? 

Books: 1984 by Anthony Hernandez; Music: Cody Chesnutt; Artists: Roy McMakin; Objects: McIntosh 275; Websites: stumptowncoffee.com; Portland Haunts: The Woodsman, Luce, Ha Vl and Olympic Provisions.

What’s up next for you? Mexico