a favorite from 2012.

Coney Island, Brooklyn, USA 

So 2012 happened.

& I am not really sure where it all went.

I think back on the last 52 weeks and its a complete blur. So many photographs still to publish here from the year of adventuring about. I am starting to compile my favourite images from 2012 and just stumbled across this one I had completely forgotten about.

Taken during my time living in New York in 2012, I spent a bit of time down at Coney Island and Brighton Beach. I like this image because it reminds me not to be to scared asking strangers for photographs. A simple hello can lead to a million things.


Portland Oregon – Rebecca & Willie – Wedding


The birch trees were

pale silouhettes

we darted through like ghosts.

Quiet footstpes

and rustling leaves

and your fingers

just beyond my reach.

I was all leaves

and waving grass

and quiet streams

in your arms.

– (EC)

Rebecca and Willie were married on a late Thursday afternoon in July in Portland, Oregon. They opted for a very small and intimate outdoor wedding ceremony at a friends property in Portland. They had about 20 guests in total at the ceremony and dinner to follow that evening at a restaurant called Luce. The whole day was so simple but so incredibly beautiful.

So glad I could travel to this beautiful pocket of the world and experience the Pacific North West and very thankful to my dear pal Dan O’Day along who came along for the adventure and help me document the day.

Oncewed featured this wedding on their site last week. Have a look at the feature here.

Victoria & Raph . Sydney, Australia

Victoria and Raph were married at Shakespeares Point at Neilsen Park in Sydney earlier this year. I came along and took some pictures for them. It was a pretty amazing day, the sun shone, there was a bride and a groom madly in love, a pretty dress, an accordion player, people were merry, the waves were crashing and the sunset was lovely. Beautiful words and stories were spoken about loved ones, tears  fell and laughter filled the room. People ate good food and danced the night away to  great music. All the ingredients were there for a beautiful wedding and it lived up to all that it was meant to be, a mighty fine day.




While I was living in New York this year, I started a new body of work about the people who go down to the Brighton Beach broadwalk in Brooklyn. I spent a lot of time down there where I walked and talked with many of the locals, and then I became very intrigued by the people sitting on the benches staring out to the ocean. What are they thinking about? Who are they? What lives have they lead? What stories do they have to tell? What are they waiting for? Since seeing the aftermath of Sandy last week, these people have been on my mind a lot . I hope they are all okay. I have read stories about elderly being stuck in their apartments since the storm.






Sarah and Rob were married on a wet & rainy morning in Melbourne. They had a intimate little ceremony with their closest loved ones, followed by a long lunch at Siglo Bar. We dodged many a raindrop while we wandered the lane ways and the many pedestrians in Chinatown. The following day, they put on their wedding attire again and had a big fancy dinner and a night of dancing with all their family and friends at the Newport Substation.


Boy grows up in Mauritius. Girl grows up in Italy. Both their worlds collide when their paths lead them both to Sydney.  They meet and fall in love.  After hundreds of phone calls and emails and all the joys and heartache that goes into a long distance relationship, it is their time to marry. This is the story of Jean-Maurice and Francesca.



I had the pleasure of spending time in Italy with Jean-Maurice and Francesca and document their wedding day in the hometown Francesca grew up in, Mantova. I had to pinch myself a few times when I was standing in the field of flowers photographing these two.

They say rain on a wedding day means good luck. Francesca and Jean-Maurice now have many buckets of luck in reserve as it absolutely poured down in the middle of dinner. We nervously watched the weather radar all day hoping the rain would somehow perfectly divert around Convento dell’annunciata. Dinner and dancing under the stars in Italy was too perfect of a evening to move the venue indoors. It was worth the risk. The staff at Convento dell’annunciata quickly ran to move all the tables undercover once it started raining. It was a fun guessing game to see where everyone’s half eaten entree ended up :)



I have been on my travel expedition for three months now, spending my days across the USA and Europe, meeting and photographing many amazing people. Two people in particular I have had the pleasure in meeting and spending time with is Reinna and Christian. Last week I traveled to California for a wedding, and these two beautiful people came along with me on the adventure up to Paso Robles, a small little town between Los Angles and San Francisco. As we hit highway one, I told them we should pull over on the side of the road as I wanted to take some pictures of them. The sun had set and the light was fading. It was all kinds of pretty and all kinds of magic.

The Cream Event – New York City

The Cream Event took place in New York last Tuesday and it was such a joy to be part of , meet many wonderful creatives and dance my ass off to The Flashdance... 5 days later and my body is still feeling all kinds of sore.

The Cream event is hosted by the lovely Paige and Kelly from Bash, Please  out of Los Angeles.  It is one all mighty showcase for brides and grooms seeking different inspiration then the standard wedding fan fare. I remember when I first started shooting weddings back in 2003, it was a completely different world. I’ve thanked the many moons and stars that the wedding industry has some amazing movers and shakers in it and have turned weddings into a whole lot of crazy fun.

 Let me  introduce you to a lovely bunch of creatives that I admire.

Kelly and Paige from Bash Please

The lovely Kelly and Jen from Ban.Do

Michael Antonia aka The Flashdance

Geoff Boothby aka Landshark from Sharkpig

Jacquelyne from Our Labor of Love and Smilebooth

Shade Degges from The Cream Event

Julia from Our Labor of Love

Jennifer from Jennifer Sosa Photography

Rebecca and Chat from Rebecca Hansen Weddings

I want to give a big shout out to Talmadge Lowe from Pharmacie LA who kept me well thirst all evening with his amazing drinks. I took a black and white polaroid of him but sadly somebody took it.


Let the visual feast begin!



2012 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize Finalist

I was very excited to find out in June that I had become a finalist in the 2012 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize, the world’s wealthiest art prize. Selected from  330,409 entries across both the painting and photography category’s, my image became one of the top forty finalists in the photographic prize.

It has been such an honour to have been selected as a finalist. For all the blood, sweat and tears that went into the making of this project about Harold Martin, (there was an incredible amount of all three! A lot of sweat and tears from me, a lot of blood from Harold)  to have one of the images from the project recognised has been the greatest achievement in my career to date.

I highly suggest you take a look over at the Moran Prizes website to see the amazing talent there is in Australia.

The Moran Prizes exhibition goes on tour nationally around Australia. The first exhibition started in Sydney on July 25, 2012 at 13-15 Bridge Street for a duration of 12 weeks, before it hits the road. If any of you go to the exhibitions, can you please take a photo of my image and send to me pretty please? :) Im not sure I will make it back to Australia in time to see it.

The image that became a finalist was the following – titled :  “A 95 Year Old Australian P.O.W. Survivor Holds Up A Portrait Of Himself Taken 72 Years Ago”. You can learn about my project on Harold Martin in this post.



Harold Martin. POW. 1942-1944

Some people come into your life for a particular reason. Your encounter with them, for however long or short, has tremendous impact. The impact so strong, their influence sends you in a new direction.

Im fortunate enough to be able to account numerous amazing and inspiring people who have came into my life and changed my paths. Their impact so great.

One person in particular is Harold Martin. A ninety five year old gentleman that lives in my hometown, Albany, in Western Australia. Harold wandered into my life a few years ago. He has been coming into my parents restaurant for many years for a morning coffee and my mother has got to know him over the years and learn about his story. Over the past 5 years or so, Ive also got the honor of getting to know Harold as well, when I visit my parents at Christmas and other times throughout the years.

It was Christmas day in 2011, that was the very beginning of what was going to become a major shift in my life. I can relate so many things that have happened in the last 7 months to this particular decision and I am so thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way because of this.

Sitting around the dinner table, talking with my dad about the year ahead, dreaming about our travels as we normally do, he tells me how he is going to take Harold to Myanmar (Burma) in March. A trip for Harold to visit the grave sites of his mates that were killed during their time spent working on the Burma Thai Railway as Prisoners of War. Myanmar had finally opened up after years of Military rule, and now they were welcoming tourist back into their country. Harold had been searching for these grave sites for many years and was eager to go back to finally say goodbye to them.

Without hesitation, I told my dad, I needed to come on this trip to document his story. His story is important. It is a story that I believe needs to be told and shared. It is a story worth telling.

These are the types of stories I want to document, to share and to let the stories be heard.

I had no idea of the impact this project would have on me.

I spent the next three months teaching myself as much as a possibly could about video and audio equipment and the art of documentary film making.  I invested thousands of dollars in new equipment and flights and off I went.

The 4 days I spent in Myanmar were incredible.

I blogged about it briefly a few months ago with the out takes / behind the scenes images from the trip.

Since then I made this short 2.5 minute video, just to be a trailer of sorts. I have some grand plans and dreams of what it will become.

The project is a combination of stills, video and audio. I did all the filming, photographing, audio (and with some help from my darling parents who helped with the microphones both in Australia and Myanmar), editing, directing. I did it all. I want to do so much more. This is just the very start of a new chapter.


A little more on Harold Martin..

Harold Martin was a prisoner of war in World War II. 15,000 Australian soldiers were captured by the Japanese in the fall of Singapore in 1942. After he was captured, he spent two long and brutal years working on the Burma “Death” Railway. Many of his friends died while working on the railway due to illness and being executed for attempting to escape. It is estimated that 16,000 Allied prisoners died while working on the railway.

Harold survived this ordeal but was then shipped to Japan on one of the notorious “hell ships”. While being transported to Japan, the convoy of Japanese ships was torpedoed by US submarines. The ship Harold was on sunk and he managed to survive by clinging onto a makeshift raft. After 4 days drifting in the ocean he was rescued by USS Pampanito along with 72 other Allied soldiers.

70 years later, Harold, who is 95 years old travels back to Burma for the first time to visit the grave sites of three of his mates that are buried in a Commonwealth war cemetery near the village of Thanbyuzayat.



crystal and aaron

An amazing day from late last year I got to experience and enjoy immensely. Crystal and Aaron were married on the 11.11.11 in Yallingup, Western Australia. I grew up a few hours away in the countryside similar to this, this area of the world holds a special place in my heart. The fields, the smell of ocean in the air and the starry nights, combined with dancing under the stars, amazing tapas dinner, homemade wedding cake (by the bride & groom!), awesome collection of friends and family.. it is indeed the perfect recipe for an amazing evening :)


the last 39 days.

These series of images are entirely from my iPhone and that of my friends iPhones. crazy little cameras :) a big thanks to Dan O’Day, Kelly Tunney, El Hogan, Natasja Kremers, Phil Chester, Jeff Albert, Dana Curran, Lauren Flair for taking some of these images :)  


I arrived in New York at the end of May and it was just the start of exploring and adventuring about this big crazy world. So far, I have been teaching my Art & the Heart photography workshop in New York and Ireland, photographed some amazing weddings in abandoned mansions and castles in New York and Prague. I am now in London, doing the final preparations for the workshop we have here next week. Next week sees me in Sweden to attend a friends wedding as a guest (woot!), days after I am photographing a wedding in Italy, before flying back over to the USA to speak at the What If Conference, shoot a wedding in Portland, spend some more time in New York, back to Melbourne for a few short weeks, then repeat….back to New York.
The next 12 months has me traveling interstate or overseas for every job, which is kind of insane to think about.  Thankfully I actually really enjoy living out of a suitcase and hotel rooms. I am still in that transition stage where I do not think of my apartment in Melbourne as entirely my home yet, so my idea of what home is very blurred. I think my idea of home is best put like this..

– What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

My time in New York was absolutely amazing. I met so many wonderful people and got to experience so much from spending afternoons working on my laptop up on the Highline, the amazing time I had teaching at the New York Art & the Heart Workshop, skee ball tournaments, hip hop shows, baseball games, karaoke, getting stuck in the Puerto Rican Day Parade,  bike rides around central park and hanging out at friends apartments in Brooklyn. Ive always dreamed of living in New York since I was young, my June only made that desire a hundred times stronger. I felt like I lived like a New Yorker for a month. I want to move to New York. As much as I have objections from family and friends about my constant desire to never been in the same place for more than 5 minutes, to quote Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”








Art & The Heart – Photography Workshops

One of the things I really love doing is helping people chase their dreams, helping turn what they are passionate about into a career, to see their businesses blossom and see them succeed.  Five and a half years ago I returned to Australia after doing a stint of working aboard in London. I absolutely hated my time working in London. I worked for large companies where the supervisor in my department would not even know my name. I worked for a company who’s business was about the promotion of something that was against my beliefs. I knew after returning to Australia I was never going to be employed by anybody else again. I was going to make my business idea work. So many people told me along the way that becoming a self employed photographer was a bad idea. I am glad I am stubborn enough to never listen to them :)

Last year, my dear friend Dan O’Day and myself launched a workshop series called Art & The Heart. The workshop is about inspiring, pushing and challenging other photographers/creative’s to create both the photography work and business they wish and strive for.

In January of this year, we hosted our first workshop in Melbourne at the amazing Dear Patti Smith gallery in Fitzroy. The 3 days were an amazing experience for myself and Dan. We both gained so much of this experience, we both became stronger, more inspired and hungrier for our craft and helping people with theirs.  I am so grateful to the lovely AimeeJodiJessJohnMitchMyekalDebsMarinaMichelleTracyTristanGemmaEmilyStewartBettinaMichelleShaunSuellen,  Julianna and Sally for attending the workshop and becoming my new friends. Also, I would like to throw a thank you to our good friend Christine for helping us out over the 3 days.

In a fortnight, Dan and I  will be heading off to host Art & The Heart in New York (June 12 to 14) Cork, Ireland (July 2 to 4) and then off to London (July 10 to 12). There are still a sprinkling of seats left at each workshop, so if you feel like coming along for the ride and meeting a bunch of new friends who like the same stuff you do (while of course refining your craft and your business), head over to www.artandtheheart.com and register. I’m so excited for what lies ahead in the next few months. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if it is all real life :)

We have also just launched a new Australian workshop date (October 8-10) that is going to be held in the beautiful Southern Highlands in New South Wales. We have hired an amazing house to host the venue. We have almost sold out this workshop, with only two seats remaining, so if our workshop seems at all appealing, get it contact with us as soon as possible to get one of the lucky last seats :)

Below are a bunch of pictures (taken by both myself and Dan) of the amazing attendee’s of the Melbourne workshop and also the lovely models who gave up their afternoon to stand in front of 23 people to have their photograph taken. Not at all intimidating :) We thank you Dijana, Crawford, Matt and Olya!  x

We launched a new blog for Art & The Heart ( www.artandtheheartajournal.com ) to document our adventures on the next crazy few months :)

Love you all and hope to see you in New York, Ireland, London and the Southern Highlands!!


Tilde and Gavin, Euroa Butter Factory


And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you. We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams. And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight. – Philip Pullman


published in harpers bazaar

Last year I photographed the most amazing wedding of Annabel and Matthew in Fremantle, Western Australia. This wedding has by far been the most blogged wedding of mine to date. The last count I did, it has appeared on over 100 blogs. craziness!

If this was not more than enough, I was completely over the moon when Harpers Bazaar magazine contacted me, as they were putting together a one off bridal special edition for their May issue and wanted to feature this wedding.

Thank you Harpers Bazaar for the feature!




jenna and josh

You may recognise Jenna and Josh from the hit tv series The Block Josh proposed to Jenna live to air during the series… thankfully she said yes! Many months later, their master plan came together for their beautiful wedding at the Convert Gallery in Daylesford.   I was luckily enough to be there to document the day for them and also bought along my talented friend Dan O’Day along for the ride to help me document the day :) x



interview in rangefinder magazine


When I was starting out in weddings, I had this goal to one day be published in Rangefinder Magazine. Its an American photography magazine that has a huge distribution around the world. Very happy to say, it has become a reality. I was interviewed and featured in the February 2012 of Rangefinder Magazine. I was interviewed by Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler. The following text is the article she put together for Rangefinder magazine. I liked how and very thankful for, how she put all my random rambles together and made sense of it all to produce the following article.

Samm Blake – Stay True

Written by Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler for Rangefinder. 

February 01, 2012 — The positioning of this couple, lying head to head, is reminiscent of a fashion shoot, with the treatment of the image itself recalling the entrancing visage of a Holga. The look between the two subjects however, mostly that of the young man looking over at the woman, is imbued with the honesty of a real relationship. These people aren’t fashion models or fine art subjects, but instead a bride and groom lucky enough to have found the photographic stylings of Melbourne-based, Australian photographer Samm Blake.

Blake’s images are not standard fare. Her style is eclectic and romantic and entirely her own. If you were to go to her Web site expecting a certain set of poses, smiles and gatherings of family members and wedding parties, you’d be at a loss. What you would find instead are the interplays of glances, details, and moments that help to define the experience of a wedding, rather than a who’s who of attendants. Her Web site is rife with delicate interactions that ultimately describe the actuality of the lives she captures. “I think it’s best to describe my images as quiet little moments that capture the honesty and realness of the day,” Blake explains. The way that she achieves this is by remaining earnestly true to her own vision.

Blake was only eight when she started in photography—her grandmother gave her a 35mm point-and-shoot camera that prompted her to  begin the visual exploration of her life. At first she pursued the standard images that a young girl is drawn to—faux fashion shoots of her sisters as well as a visual diary of her life—but after that, the photographic bug truly took hold. As a teenager, she started to explore graphic and Web design and created new visual experiences that others could interact with. “I started to do a lot of Web designing, thinking of ways of making money so I could go travel,” she laughs. “From there, I started to need photographs to incorporate into my graphic design, so that’s what pushed me out to get started into photography a bit more seriously. And then once I started to put my photography online, I was getting a lot of feedback—that’s how it all really started.”

Blake pursued her career diligently at the university level by studying photography and journalism. Her goal at the time was to become a war photographer. “I wanted to work for National Geographic or something with a lot of gore and guts; the grittier side of life, I guess. And then I ended up in weddings,” she exclaims, shaking her head at the change. Despite the redirection of her initial intent, her technical skill and style were finding a place in her wedding work. Coming from a fine art background, it wasn’t an easy decision for her to start shooting weddings in the first place. “When I was studying at university it was very frowned upon to shoot a wedding,” says Blake.

If nothing else, Blake has always been steadfast in her career and path— never worrying about the expectations of others and always maintaining the integrity of her vision. She stuck with it and started to be successful with her own business, shooting 15 weddings her first year in 2003. “Up until about three or four years ago it was really looked down upon to be a wedding photographer in the photography world. It was the bottom, so to speak. But I think that’s really changed now. I get a lot of respect that I’m a wedding photographer, so it isn’t that bad,” she laughs. “The photography I do now with my wedding work is exactly what I wanted in my life—I wanted to travel, I wanted complete creative freedom, I wanted to be my own boss, and make good money— and I do all those things.” By following her passion, she was able to establish herself as one of the top ten wedding photographers in Australia in both 2009 and 2010.

As Blake continued to evolve, her work became more specific to her own style. But rather than hindering her progress, making a niche for herself in the wedding market turned out to be the best course of action. The honesty and passion of her work shows through in every image and speaks to the type of clientele she most wants to work with. “I’ve always been really strict with myself to stay true to my style and what was true to me. It was more, ‘This is what I do, like it or don’t hire me.’ I was always, from the very beginning, quite particular,” she admits. “I’ve always had a very clear idea in my head of the type of work I wanted to shoot. The voice, or the vision, has always been really strong,” she says. “It’s something so internal. It’s like a gut instinct. I feel it, I can’t express it in words, but in imagery I can.”

Blakes images are intimate and personal, despite the inherent chaos of a wedding day. She has a way of honing in on the elements that best describe the day with poetic simplicity rather than bombarding the frame with every element present. She prefers clients with small or nonexistent wedding parties, where moments are less scattered and more descriptive. When she is photographing an event or a portrait session she allows the real personalities of her clients to emerge in front of her as she unobtrusively glides around the space. “With my style, it’s expressing so much about what I’m feeling just as much as what my clients are feeling. It’s definitely a collaboration. I’m not just a strict journalist and capturing what’s there; I’m capturing how I’m feeling about it as well. I tell my clients that when they’re looking back at their wedding images, I want them to remember how they felt in certain moments and how it felt to be at their wedding. So basically I’m acting like a guest, and I just float about capturing these little moments that I’m drawn to.”

The little moments she finds are universally representative of the love, romance, and connection that her clients clearly feel. How she came to be able to follow those moments comes in part from her own tenacious claim to maintaining her own style and her honest dedication to knowing who she is in her photography, something that wasn’t always easy for her. “I think the biggest struggle photographers have, and I know I experienced this in certain phases as well and that’s why I definitely understand it,” she concedes, is that “young photographers get so confused about what style of photography they should be in to. They go and experiment in everything. And that’s good, because it’s good to find out what particular style you do like, but there is no consistency in their work. One week they might shoot like one photographer, and then the next week they’re shooting like another photographer,” she explains. “It comes across as quite obvious. The best advice is to shoot for your own heart. And that can be daunting or confusing because you’re not sure what’s in your heart or how to stay true to yourself.”

Rather than just pursuing her technical evolution, Blake was very conscious of doing her best to find out who she was so that her own emotions and perspective could be accurately portrayed in her photography. It seems the more she knows who she is, the more universally appealing her images be-come. When she is at odds with herself or unsure of her own artistic vision, she feels her work shows it. “How I am feeling and how I interact with people is so crucial to how my photography looks and the end result. A lot of people are not in tune and aware of that relationship. They just go out and shoot and are not paying attention to themselves.” It is a pitfall that Blake believes negatively affects their resulting images – pre-venting the photographer from being present in their own im-ages.

She wholeheartedly believes that staying true to yourself and your personal vision is the only way to continue to make relevant art, no matter the genre of your photography. To that end, she has been asked to speak at several workshops both in Australia as well as internationally, focusing her talks on helping photographers determine who they are. Her speaking engagements guide photographers in overcoming their creative blocks and insecurities about pursing the photography that will be the most fulfilling to them and rewarding for their clients. “I’m really, really enjoying it and really excited about where it’s going to take me. I love teaching and the feedback I’ve been getting is such a lovely feeling,” she says. “I don’t teach photography, as such. I’m teaching about resistance as an artist and creative blocks that photographers face.” The reason she can teach these concepts is that she went through them herself and she wants to help others avoid the arduous process of get-ting through to themselves. “I went through it all. I just want to give people the quick ten-step guide so that they don’t have to go through it as much. But it’s crucial that you go through them,” she admits, and she wants to help people find out what their personal resistance is in their photography. “What’s stopping you from going out and producing your work?”

Now that she can see her own resistance plainly, she can help others to see past theirs, and can continue to create her own work without obstacles. Her philosophy in all these aspects hasn’t changed – find out who you are, be true to your-self, and your images will show it.


michelle & andy

Michelle & Andy were married last October (ah yes, im a little behind on my blogging). They got ready in the same house but in separate rooms and on separate levels. I liked how they got ready in the same house as I got to switch between the two, documenting the different happenings and energies in the rooms. We then set off to do most of the portrait photos of Michelle and Andy with their bridal party before the ceremony. Poor Michelle was attacked by mosquitoes during the shoot. I almost had a nervous breakdown on her behalf, I drove like a crazy woman to the chemist to buy every tablet and cream available that would settle the bites. Thank god the bites went down and you would have not known by the time it was the ceremony :)  (I now carry a bottle of Stingoes in my camera bag ;). They had a lovely ceremony overlooking the Indian ocean just before sunset. We then hugged and said our goodbyes and they ran off into the sunset to their wedding reception. It was a lovely day. xo


a field trip to myanmar

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Ive been in 11 cities in 6 countries.  In the midst of it all, I traveled to Myanmar (Burma) two weeks ago to work on a special project.

A man came into my life a few years ago. The story of his life is compelling. Harold Martin was a prisoner of war in World War II. 15,000 Australian soldiers were captured by the Japanese in the fall of Singapore in 1942. After he was captured, he spent two long and brutal years working on the Burma “Death” Railway. Many of his friends died while working on the railway due to illness and being executed for attempting to escape. It is estimated that 16,000 Allied prisoners died while working on the railway.

Harold survived this ordeal but was then sent to Japan on one of the notorious “hell ships”. While being transported to Japan, the convoy of Japanese ships were torpedoed by US submarines. The ship Harold was on sunk but he managed to survive by clinging onto a makeshift raft. After 4 days drifting in the ocean he was rescued by the USS Pampanito submarine along with 72 other Allied soldiers.

70 years later, Harold, who is now 95 years old wanted to travel back to Myanmar (Burma) for the first time. He wanted to visit the grave sites of three of his mates that are buried in a Commonwealth war cemetery near the village of Thanbyuzayat.  He had been searching for these graves for many years. This year he had finally found them. I decided to go with him to document (video and stills) his experience in going back. It was an amazing few days. Myanmar and the Burmese people are beautiful. In all my travels I have never come across more lovely and hospitable people.

This series of images is only a small portion of what was captured in the few days I spent with Harold. These images are of the quieter moments in-between the main events. The main story is captured on video and medium format film. The video I took on the trip is going to be featured in a documentary that is being made about Harold’s life. The day spent at the war cemetery is entirely on these mediums and I am in the process of creating a body of work with it.

The images in the slideshow are all from the the Fuji X-Pro1 camera.  I would like to thank Camera Electronics in Perth, Australia ( cameraelectronic.com.au ) and FujiFilm Australia ( fujifilm.com.au ) in letting me take this camera on the trip.

There is something about when images and music are combined, then the body of work can become something else. Ive created a slideshow of these images put together with music.  I really enjoyed moving beyond the boundaries of being a stills photographer on this project. Working with video and audio is definitely challenging but I loved how it was able to give more depth to the story. It is something I am going to start exploring more of in my work.


for the art of adventure.

“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints” – Winfield Peterson


This was my motto for 2011 and it will be my motto again for 2012.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for the past two months. Trying to think what on earth will I write to sum up what 2011 was all about for me. It was a big year. It was a crazy, scary, beautiful, fun, terrifying and exhilarating year.  It was a complete whirlwind. It was a year of challenges and learning all about patience. It was about taking risks and reaping its rewards. At the very beginning of the year I made the decision to sell and give away most my processions and the put rest into storage. I decided to start a new life completely on my own in a completely different city where I knew less then 5 people. Making the decision to move to Melbourne was one of the toughest yet easiest decisions I have ever made. After being in Melbourne for a few months now, I finally feel settled and at home. I never really felt at home like I do here.

I am incredibily lucky I get to do what I do. I have spent time in some truly remarkable places with some truly remarkable people. I have this favourite part of the day, its that moment right after the sun has set and there is that 20 minute window of twilight where the sky is an intense dark blue and its in the last moments of light. I get to spend a lot of these times in really remote and random locations. A lot of time is standing on cliff tops, looking out onto the ocean as I am finishing up photographing a wedding or portrait shoot. Sometimes its when I am riding my bike home from work and I look up to see the crazy Melbourne bats flying past, or its when I am running the streets of Fitzroy. It is at these times, that I always remind myself that I am truly grateful for the decisions I have made to lead me where I am today.

2011 was full of adventure. I ended up on 55 different aeroplanes, taking me to many random locations. I went to Vegas and saw my two dear friends renew their wedding vowels in the Little White Wedding Chapel and spend 1o days at WPPI with all my dear photography friends. I went to Japan for a fun adventure with my friend Dan where we started working on our workshop series Art and the Heart that we launched a few months later.  I traveled to Los Angeles to speak at the Beloved Collective and also spoke in Melbourne for the Pro Photo Seminars. I guest spoke at the Winter Wonderland and at the Jonas & Sean workshop’s. I certainly overcame my fear of public speaking.

In 2011, I also taught myself to run and quickly clocked up over 500km and ran half a marathon. I was a top 5 finalist in the Monster Childrens photography competition and got my photo published in their magazine and book. I joined my friend Dan O’Day on an awesome project called You Thought You Knew You, where we challenge photographers with a brief that will push themselves creatively.

It was a year about pushing myself to find new ground.

2012 is looking to be an even crazier year then the last and I could not be more excited about it. Knowing all the things I learnt in 2011 makes me very eager to see what this year has in store.  2012 has me going to Vegas, Myanmar (Burma), New Zealand, New York, Prague,  Sweden, Ireland, London, Portland, Tokyo and all over Australia for weddings and speaking and teaching workshops.

The last few weeks I have been busy working on a special project that will take me to Myanmar (Burma) in March to work on a documentary project. This project is taking me into a completely new area as I will be filming for a documentary. Learning to shoot video will be an interesting challenge but beyond excited about where it all may lead.

Earlier this week I was published in Rangefinder magazine. Was happy to check this off my life goals list :)  Today I was very excited to be announced as an Innovator at the next What If Conference in Portland, Oregon in July.

The best bit about my year is all the amazing things I get to be a silent witness to. This is my 2011 from start to finish. Thank you to my amazing clients for believing in me and allowing me to step into their lives for a day. xo


admin assistant needed. melbourne

photo of me taken in northern california by nirav patel 


I am on the hunt for a fabulously organised Administrative Assistant based in Melbourne to help with day-to-day business-related duties.


– Clear, concise writing skills (you must enjoy writing as this is a large portion of the job);

– High attention to detail;

– Great organisational skills;

– Knowledge of MYOB (or the ability to learn MYOB quickly);

– Good work ethic and ability to work independently and without supervision;

– Minimum of one year commitment.

PLEASE NOTE: As this is NOT a photographic role, the position is not suited to photographers. It is perfectly suited for those with an interest in or experience with administrative duties.

Start date:  As soon as possible.

Time commitment: Approximately 10-15 hours a week, with at least one hour commitment each day (flexible to work from home); as well as one day in-person at my Fitzroy office every one to two weeks.

Application details: Please submit a cover letter responding to each of the selection criteria, a full resume and two professional references as an email (title should be: “Administrative Assistant Position”) to: mail@sammblake.com. I will be accepting applications until the 20th February 2012.

Thank you so much!