Portraits | Stories

This is a collection of a few people I’ve met and the stories that they’ve shared. Some instances are brief encounters while other opportunities led to full-length stories. This series is about how a photographer works to connect with people’s stories surrounding the image.

Jeff Bork performs as Elvis with his brothers band, Wisegise at the Southgate Lounge in Grand Forks, ND on Saturday, October 29, 2016. (Joshua Komer / Grand Forks Herald)
Jeff Bork performs as Elvis with his brothers band, Wisegise at the Southgate Lounge in Grand Forks, ND.

It is less than an hour until showtime, and Jeff Bork’s demeanor is changing into a famous face.

The rings, sunglasses and hair go on. His lip begins to raise as he sings along with the opening band’s set, but now in the voice of the King of Rock and Roll.

“I have to get into the part. I think of it as trying to channel Elvis and get his mannerisms,” Bork said.

The dressing room routine helps him nail down the voice of Elvis Presley. The black jumpsuit with brass and rhinestone studs help him look the part. (read full story here.)

Clint Potulny opens up the dome as he would on a dark night in his home to view the stars with his telescope.
Clint Potulny opens up the dome as he would on a dark night in his home to view the stars with his telescope.

Those who know Clint Potulny know there are many things that make him and his property interesting.

The 47-year-old entrepreneur, custom painter and mechanic learned early on if there was a problem, he needed to solve it.

Each tidy room in his ranch-style home outside Fordville, N.D., has character all its own and reveals yet another passion—rebuilds for classic cars in the body shop, electronics repair in the basement and sweet custom-built guitars along another downstairs wall… (read more here.)

Otto Aaland sits on one of the many chairs he crafted by hand. Aaland took to making these chairs, known as Kubbestols after a visit to his grandparents homeland in Norway. With a family tree to the left and old photos of his family reaching back to his great-grandparents Aalands homemade cabin serves as a trove for Norwegian history. His grandparents homesteaded in Northwood, ND along with a large Norwegian population and has always had pride for where he came from. (Read full story here)

Hannah Saagge, left, and Adam Kemp pose for a portrait in front of the bus in downtown Grand Forks, ND on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)

On a wall that has transformed into a canvas at Grand Forks’ Third Street Gallery Hanna Saagge quickly adds a few figures to the massive installation. A couple of minutes go by as she works her way across the art piece before finishing up.

The next day is similar as she adds a few objects along the wall, only to finish minutes after she has started.

The art project, called “Welcome New Americans, Old Americans and You,” was a collaborative exhibition spearheaded by her father, Grand Forks artist Adam Kemp.

It has also been a chance for the father and daughter to share in creating something, and for Kemp…(Full story here)

at Everest Gymnastics in Huntersville, NC on Monday April 6, 2015.

Emily Schild, 16, from Huntersville, NC was named to the 19-member USA Gymnastics Woman’s Senior National Team in March. Emily and another girl from Everest Gymnastics are the first from North Carolina on the women’s senior national team since at least 1985. She looks up to 2008 Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson because “She’s small and she’s powerful”

Elias Dean poses for a portrait in his new store, Majestic Shoes in East Grand Forks, MN on Tuesday, July 18, 2015. (Joshua Komer/ Grand Forks Herald)

Two hundred dollars in cash and a promised job are all Elias Dean had when he arrived at the Grand Forks airport on a cool September night almost three years ago.

After a friend in Minneapolis suggested he work in North Dakota, he booked a plane here. There was a job waiting for him at American Crystal Sugar, but upon arrival he didn’t even have a winter coat or a place to stay for the night.

Despite the rough beginning in a place he had never been, Dean said he knew he could start from the bottom and make it to the status of business owner.(Read full story here)


For Sam Perez, it’s about more than just the ride. He lost his son in 2004 during the Iraq war while serving our country. Perez travels to many bike rallies that honor fallen solders and his son. “I do this for him, I’ve traveled from Texas to North Dakota for these rallies”


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