Désirée Bambynek

Faces of Oly

After work hangout

One of my first Oly encounters was with Julia and her friends. They were enjoying the first warm spring evening, chatting and discussing over coffee.

Their individual style, charisma and relaxed attitude caught my eye instantly. And the fact that they were charmingly friendly and easy-going just added to the appeal of that afternoon shoot.

These portraits are what sparked my interest and inspired me to create this series, dedicated to Olympian characters.

Jami

I met Jami of The Sherwood Press while scouting printing materials. She immediately welcomed me into her little atelier, sharing with me her path to letterpress printing and her history with the printing shop, which she inherited from her mentor and friend, Jocelyn.

Jami has a soothing and relaxed way about her. And standing in her shop lets time stand still, tucked away in the trees overlooking the lake.

Bri, Brandon & Matt

When I first vacationed in Washington State a year prior, I met Bri and her guys at the local farmer’s market, selling delicious waffles and even better coffee.

So when the farmer’s market opened its doors again in spring – and I was back in Washington for a year-long stay – the Heyday Café was my first stop.

Bri, Brandon, Matt and Andrew are an inspiring team, leading the Heyday family business (Bri and Matt are siblings, Bri and Andrew later married) with tasty food concoctions and a fun-filled atmosphere (lavender ice cream, hello?!).

These are Olympian individuals and entrepreneurs at their best.

Mr. Cool

While sitting outside Vita Café on 4th Avenue, calmly sipping my tea, this cool guy drove up in his oldtimer and stopped at the red light.

We made eye contact, I pointed at the camera in my hand, he nodded.

The on-the-spot shooting could begin. I jumped into the middle of the street and started snapping away.

All the while, he remained cool and relaxed, as if this happens to him every day, with a serene attitude. A true cool guy.

Ashley

The first time I met Ashley, I was wowed by her warm smile. She immediately pushed my drowsy mood to the side.

Shooting with her was great fun, and I still hope I didn’t distract her too much. In my eyes, she is a coffee master in the making.

She and the Burial Grounds team make coffee drinking anything but boring and normal.

Their punch of relaxed fun is exhilarating any time of day. Also one of the reasons I chose my exhibition venue there.

Steve

You never know when a poet is sitting next to you.

Steve and I shared a coffee table as strangers in the sun one late afternoon. After a few words, he began going into full prose.

To my surprise, he was quite shy about being photographed, but seemed it enjoy it nonetheless.

In Olympia, dipping into the artistic scene can even happen over an unexpected cup of coffee.

FACES OF OLY was exhibited in 2014 at Burial Grounds Café, Olympia, Washington.