I am proudly a product of Nebraska. As a child, I drew pictures. Mom — Kathleen Schaecher "K.S." Farris — was a very talented, regionally known painter. Dad got me into small wood projects at my his workbench. When I was in high school, Mom taught me to weld. (Not a sentence one reads every day.) She and a friend learned it in evening classes at the high school. They rented an old pig shed outside town and turned it into a sculpture studio. I made sculpture under her tutelage, including a life-sized Tin Man for our 'Wizard of Oz' Senior Prom. (Only today does one wonder about the wisdom of using an oxyacetylene torch in a bone-dry wooden building.)
At 20, I went West to college in the Bay Area. We frequented Sam Wo in Chinatown. Sam's had the best won ton soup and chow fun, and Edsel Ford Fong, the embodiment of the rude waiter as floor show.
Medical school was in San Diego. Four of us rented a house on the beach in Del Mar — tough gig. I’ve lived in California, Washington, Arizona and Oregon. I’ve worked as a construction schlep, a dishwasher, a maintenance worker in a power plant, a studio photographer, an obstetrician/gynecologist-in-training, a traveling ER doctor, an anesthesiologist, a pediatric intensivist, a group administrator, and as medical director of a program tending to the unique needs of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Through rare good timing, I landed in a special medical practice in Portland, Oregon. My work here is varied and gratifying. My anesthesia practice is primarily devoted to adult and children’s heart surgery. I also get to do my share of all the challenges we see at a Level One Trauma Center.
I couldn’t do any of this without the love and support of Kendra Farris MD, my wife of three-plus decades, and of my sons, Brian and Nick, and daughters-in-law, Alexis and Becky.
I like going home to Nebraska. At last look, that pig shed was still standing.
Dad — the late Roy D. C. Farris, Jr., a talented, dedicated amateur photographer — gave me a Bakelite Kodak Brownie camera when I was five. He told me to keep the sun at my back and shoot what I liked. I took pictures of Miss Purcell, my kindergarten teacher, and Lucy Madden, an awfully cute girl in my class.
I photographed everything I found fascinating. The guts of neighbors' houses being assembled board by board. Snow drifts after blizzards. The forts we built in them. Our collie. I tried to get the milkman's hand cart — one of the coolest things I'd ever seen — but he moved it to his other leg, away from me, likely trying not to bonk me.
Dad had to rein me in: film and developing costs. But in eighth grade he turned me loose in his darkroom. Like every other hypo-stained wretch, the magic of the image coming to life under the dim red light did me in.
I still shoot what fascinates me.
Story telling I took up osmotically from my father and his brothers, Uncles Jack and Jim. They taught me to know good stories from bad, mostly by example. I learned clarity and precision, as goals anyway, from hard-nosed teachers, especially Mr. Brandt — Analytical Composition — and Mrs. Kaiser — Journalism — in high school.
I labored over a short story for most of my intern year, typing and retyping. (Wite-Out is wonderful stuff, but by about the fifth application it's time to start afresh.) Then, in residency, I discovered the perfect murder weapon. I thought, 'I'll write a thriller.' Why not?
A dozen years later I had something readable. Three years and countless revisions after that, it was possibly publishable.
[For more on that, see the published interview about the making of LIE STILL. CLICK HERE.]
2003: “18 Views of Portland,” Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
1999: Untitled show, The Zone VI Gallery, Dayton Ohio.
1997: “Contemporaneous Archeology,” New Image Gallery, Harrisonburg, Virginia.
1995: “Incidental Temples,” The L & B Viewing Room, Portland, Oregon.
1993: Untitled show, Camerawork Gallery, Portland.
1977: Untitled show, Midland College, Fremont, Nebraska.
1976: Untitled show, Stanford University Coffeeshop, Palo Alto, California.
2011: “Photography and Tourism, an International Symposium.” Zhengzhou and Yun Tai Shan Park, Henan Province, China.
2004: “Oregon Nature Photographers: Farris, Levy and Rauschenberg,” The L &B Viewing Room, Portland, Oregon.
1998 “Winter Light,” Alysia Duckler Gallery, Portland, OR.
1997: “Oregon Black and White Photographers,” Photographic Image Gallery, Portland, OR.
2002: Honorable Mention in “Fellowship 2002,” The Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh, PA. (William Williams, Juror.) (Image: “Pipeline.”)
2001: “Current Works 2001,” Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City, MO. (Steven Yates, Juror.) (Image: “Water Lilies.”)
2001: “Beneath the Surface,” Photographic Center Gallery, Seattle, WA.(Chien-Chi Chang, Juror.) (Image: “Water Lilies.”)
1999: “Current Works ‘99”, Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City, MO. (Diana Gaston, Juror.) (Images: “Drain,” “Cutting Edge,” “Haylage,” “Banks of the Santiam.”)
1998: “Photographic Explorations,” Photographic Center Gallery, Seattle, WA.(Keith Carter, Juror.) (Image: “Riverplace.”)
1998: “1st Annual Juried Exhibit,” Art Students League of Denver, Denver, CO. (Sandy Skoglund, Juror.)
1998: “Urban Landscapes,” (David Frankel, Juror,) Yorkarts Gallery, York, PA.
1998: “Fire and Ice,” (all media) Attelboro Museum, Attelboro, MA.
1997: “Motion of the Ocean,” (all media) Ridge Street Gallery, Manhattan, NY.
1997: “Eye Contact,” (all media; part of Bumbershoot,) Seattle, Washington.
1997: Three-person show, The Focal Point Gallery, City Island, NY.
1997: “1st Annual National Competition,” Open Space Gallery, Allentown, Pennsylvania.
1997: “Global Warning” (all media) Galleria Mesa, Mesa, Arizona.
1997: “Angst in the Landscape.” James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.
2001: Black and White Magazine, “Spotlight.” (# 14, August 2001.)
1997: Camera Notes, (the publication of the New York Camera Club).
1997: The Photo Review’s 13th Annual National Competition.
1981: New England Journal of Medicine published "Ice Cream."
1969: Byline Award, 4th Place, News Photography.
1968: Grand Prize, Omaha World-Herald Photography Contest.
2003: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
2003: Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
2000: Jeanne Falk Adams, Fresno, CA.
2000: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
1995: 7 Print installation at Emanuel Hospital, Portland, Oregon.
2003: Lie Still, A Novel of Suspense published by Wm. Morrow and Co. Hardback and paperback.
2004: Film rights to Lie Still optioned to Signpost Films.
2007: “Saturday, First Call, a Five-Day Memoir” published in The Bellevue Literary Review.
2006: "Saturday, First Call," short listed for award at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
2004: Lie Still named a finalist for “Ken Kesey Award for the Novel” by Oregon Literary Arts.
1972: Byline Award, First Place, News Writing.
1972: First place in editorial cartooning, Nebraska State Competition.