avatar for Ari Nordhagen

Ari Nordhagen

Ari Nordhagen is an award-winning portrait, wedding and food photographer, who currently writes a monthly food column for Spokane + Coeur d’Alene Living Magazine called “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.” She is an avid supporter of local restaurants, farmers’ markets, and artisans. Ari “fell into food photography” when a restaurant manager noticed her taking photos of her food (which she usually does) while dining out with her husband, and afterwards asked her to photograph their entire menu. Since then, Ari has photographed for several restaurants in Spokane and Coeur D'Alene, and contributed photos and articles for various local publications. 

Ari was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the US when she was twelve years old. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology with a specialty in Developmental Neurolinguistics from Stanford University. After getting married, she and her husband moved to Reno, Nevada. They went on to have four sons, and Ari decided to forgo medical school to stay home and raise their children. During her early years as a stay-at-home mom, she realized the value of keeping memories, via recipes handed down through generations, old photographs, and especially through listening to life stories of loved ones. She picked up a camera and started documenting special family events. Soon, she was also documenting other people’s celebrations, and so began an unexpected career in professional photography.

Her passion for food was cultivated by her desire to keep her cultural traditions alive after moving to the US. Food is one of the best ways to share one’s culture and identity with others, and Ari found that some of her most meaningful interactions with people were made while sharing a meal.

In 2015, Ari and her family moved to Spokane to live closer to Nordhagen relatives. While exploring her new town Ari became aware of the young but steadily growing food scene in the Lilac City, and the people from various walks of life who have made Spokane their home. 

As someone who came from another country, Ari is part of a minority of moms whose children straddle two cultures – one from their immigrant parent, and another from the American society they were born into. Spokane as a town embodies that straddling of cultures, with a growing population of international transplants whose presence here has helped to shape its mantle into a more diversified scape. In writing this book, Ari combines her passions for storytelling and photography, along with her desire to showcase the unique tapestry of Spokane’s culinary scene, in what she hopes will be a legacy item that people will treasure for years to come.

My Authors Sessions

Thursday, April 20

3:00pm PDT