Blake is represented by the
in Calgary, Alberta and the
in Haliburton, Ontario.
The statement below is a bit of a read but it gives insight into my work.
My process has been evolving over the years in a response to the need for immersion in the landscape. Getting my start in film photography, I was not introduced to digital until many years after I have first picked up a camera. When I did make the shift to a digital camera I felt uneasy about using it to produce landscape imagery. With no difference in cost between making 10 or 100 exposures I found myself taking an exorbitant amount of photographs and not being happy with any. Pleasure was found by reverting back to film to photograph these scenes. Carrying an average of three cameras, only using prime lenses, and limited to the amount of film I could bring, film photography allowed me to slow down. Each image had multiple consideration associated with it; was the composition worth a frame or two of film, which camera and lens would best capture what I envisioned and so on. Through these experiences, two things became clear to me, the need to slow down to better absorb my surroundings and the use of black and white imagery over colour.
The use of black and white imagery happened naturally as the need to slow myself progressed. I looked to go beyond film in my capture process and eventually began experimenting with the Wet Plate Collodion process created by Fredrick Scott Archer in the 1850’s. A lengthy and precise process, wet plate photography requires the use of a light sensitive emulsion on glass plates, created through the mixture of raw chemicals. The result is one of the most archival forms of photography. I quickly became enthralled with the process and the way it created images but I was also quick to see the limitations. Traditionally, image size was limited to the size of the camera, as the glass had to be inserted in the camera to produce a direct positive image and the amount of gear along with a need for a constant supply of clean water makes the process difficult to access certain locations.
In an effort overcome these limitations I began researching and experimenting. I wanted to look at photography not as three different processes, plate, film, and digital, but rather I wanted to find a way to make the evolution of photography work together as one complete process. Image capture would be done through a digital camera, approaching it however with the mentality of using film. The image would then be edited on the computer and the layers of the landscape separated into different images. From here images would be transferred to sheet film, to be used for projection onto hand poured glass plates in the darkroom, creating a one of a kind piece. “Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” “One might subsume the eliminated element in the term 'aura' and go on to say: that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art. This is a symptomatic process whose significance points beyond the realm of art. One might generalize by saying: the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence” (Benjamin 1969, p. 218). Even though multiple copies can be made, because the chemicals are flowed onto the glass plate by hand, it is impossible to create two that are the same. Each is not a copy but rather a unique object, whose aura must be experienced in person. It is because of this uniqueness that multiples of an image are not copies or additions but instead are mono prints.
Let nature touch your soul and you will never need look for inspiration.