Elements of Fanatics @ Halle’s Allée(2513 NE Dunckley St.) July 12, 2012 from 6-9pm & by appointment
Fandom, at its best, is a grassroots phenomenon, engrained in the very soil of a town and growing slowly, organically, over the generations, in ways no one could foresee at the outset. The Portland Timbers soccer team enjoys such a fan base, and Steven Lenhart knows this better than just about anyone: A supporter of the team in its first incarnation, he was literally present at the very start of the Timbers Army, the world-famous throng that supports the team today. He knows the traditions, the passions, the songs, the energies, the pains, the joys — all of it. And the photos in “Elements of Fanatics” demonstrate both his unique insight into the group and his unparalleled access to it. From the tiny details of tattoos and patches to the mass displays of smoke and streamers to the historic first sketch of the famed “No Pity” scarf (on a bar napkin, of course!) to the lucky jacket of a late, beloved supporter, all the icons of Timbers Army culture are captured here so richly and vividly that you can almost hear the singing and feel the joy of a goal celebration. If the Timbers Army truly were an army, then Lenhart would be its Matthew Brady or Robert Capa. He came, he saw, he snapped, and the result is so vibrant and alive that seeing them is like having a ticket to the North End on game day.