What does it mean to be an Idahoan?

This is a portrait series produced for the Idaho Statesman during summer 2018.


Noel Laabs, 27, a local tattoo artist poses for a portrait at Resurrected Tattoo on Friday, July 27, 2018. Laabs siad being an Idahoan means "Welcoming, community and outdoorsy."


Mike Roger, 56, the owner of Precious Metal Art poses for a portrait at Precious Metal Art in Downtown Boise on Friday, July 20, 2018. Roger is a metal artist and a musician. He is from Kamiah, Idaho and left to California for school for two years. “Idaho is still unpopulated to the point that it’s pretty easy to go out and be alone, and that’s a rare thing. When I lived in California, it wasn’t like that at all: You can do a 20-mile backpack trip and still run into quite a few people- they are all great people, but you don’t find solitude. And if you’re an artist, sitting in nature and just turning your brain off and watching everything- it’s such a source of creativity,” Roger said.


Monique Michel-Duarte, 44, the director of education at Caldwell Fine Arts dances at her studio in Nampa on Wednesday, August 1, 2018. Michel-Duarte moved from Los Angeles to Boise 21 years ago. "Twenty-one years later, I know why they call it Idahome. Idaho is my home," said Michel-Duarte, "LA is a good place to be from, I love southern California. That's where my family is, it's where I grew up, those are my roots. But Idaho is different because that's where my children have been raised. This is where my husband and I chose to move and start our family."


Sarah(Shi) Wu, 49, a lead project manager for content development at Hewlett-Packard poses for a portrait on Friday, August 3, 2018 in Boise, Idaho. Wu came from Szechuan, China and has lived in Idaho with her husband and their three children for almost two decades. Wu said being a Chinese Idahoan means to be involved in the community regardless the language barriers. As a broad member of the Idaho Chinese Organization, Wu volunteers to dance for a fundraise event for the victims of the stabbing attack that happened in Boise in July. Wu said she values the opportunity to contribute to the society as an Idahoan, and she also values her roots as a Chinese. She insists teaching her American-born-Chinese children Chinese, and her son describes himself as a “spicy potato” to imply his multicultural background.


Colby Akers, 44, the founder and director of the Freak Alley Gallery sits in front of his work in Downtown Boise on Tuesday, August 7, 2018. Akers grew up in Idaho and started painting in Freak Alley in 2002. "My whole thing really is just doing something that we didn't have," said Aker, "We got tons of great artists, just nobody was able to ever give them really a venue."


Susan Latta, 52, an artist at the Sculpture Studio in Boise poses for a portrait on Wednesday, August 1, 2018. Latta was one of the plaintiffs who sued Idaho on the same-sex marriage ban in 2013. Latta said Boise is an easy place to live. “What was true is that we expected to get a little bit of push-back from the larger Idaho, and we didn’t. We got nothing but congratulations and thank you, and ‘Yay!’ for doing what you’re doing,” Latta said.


Jordan Allred, 25, a local tattoo artist poses for a portrait at Resurrected Tattoo on Friday, July 27, 2018. Allred has lived in Idaho for 23 years, and she said being an Idahoan means, "community, being a friend and humble."


Kurt Holzer, 57, a personal injury attorney at Hepworth Holzer poses for a portrait in his office on Friday, July 20, 2018. Holzer has lived in Boise since 1993. "When you think about what is an Idahoan, you think about somebody who understands balance, who understands freedom, who understands the acceptance of other people's ideas. I think Idahoans can appreciate both contry and city, Idahoans can appreciate ballet and hunting, and an Idahoan is someone who chooses to live in this environment," Holzer said.