Takako & Steve (Tokyo, Japan)

In December I traveled to Japan to document Takako and Steve’s traditional Shinto-style wedding at the Nogi Shrine in Akasaka, Tokyo. When Takako and Steve first approached me about photographing their wedding, I was so incredibly excited that I would be able to experience and document this day for them. Over the coming months, that excitement grew and grew and grew.

Japan holds a special place in my heart. When I was 12 years old, I traveld to Japan and lived with a Japanese family on my own. I went to school whilst there and participated in lots of amazing activities and random Japanese goodness. Ever since then, I have had a love affair with the country. Throughout my teens, my host sisters and I would exchange letters through the post, they would send me all the crazy Japanese stationary and I would send them all things Australiana. I went back to Japan in 2011 and explored Toyko and Kyoto some more. I fell in love with the country a whole lot more. If you know me well, you will know of my addiction to Japanese knick-knack stores and my over consumption of Japanese food.

My favorite movie is Lost in Translation. There is something about Sofia Coppola’s work that speaks to me on so many levels, but mostly its the quietness and subtle undertones her work has. Possibly the reason why I connect with Lost in Translation so much is that I identify so much with the experience of being in a foreign country, from being a 12 year old kid exploring Japan to much of what my life is now, living out of hotel rooms, to all the wonderful people I get to meet through the experience of all of this, to quote Sofia – “The unexpected connections we make might not last, yet stay with us forever”.

I knew that while photographing Takako and Steve’s wedding, I wanted to capture the lovely little peculiarities about the Japanese culture that makes them so amazing and such beautiful, polite people. Lost in Translation does this so well and I knew from the moment I would be traveling to Japan to document this wedding, I too wanted that to be the essence of this body of work.

I only had a few days in Tokyo on this trip and looking back on it now, it was a complete whirlwind.  I cant wait for my next trip back.

To Takako and Steve, it was a complete honor and privilege to be able to come to Tokyo to document your wedding day for you. A hundred thank you’s for letting me do what I do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMERICAN PHOTO TOP 10 WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS IN THE WORLD

TOP TEN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS IN THE WORLD 2013

 

I am at a loss for words.

I am giddy with excitement. My hands are shaking as I type this.

 

American Photo magazine has named me as one of the TOP TEN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS IN THE WORLD FOR 2013!

 

Never it my wildest dreams did I ever think that this was possible.

 

oh my gawd .

 

I am so incredibly proud to be on this list and so honoured to be included among such talented photographers from around the world. A huge congratulations in particular goes to my dear friends Todd & Alyda McGaw of Todd Hunter McGaw Photography and the lovely Ashley & Jeremy Parsons of We Are The Parsons who are also on the list! :)

A big thank you to all my dear friends, family and clients who have believed in me and supported me along this crazy journey. I love you all dearly.

The print edition is yet to hit shelves, but you can purchase an issue on the zinio website or apps.

 

Now I must go drink some champagne!  :)

 

x

2012 was a big year.

 

I am sitting on a plane heading back to Melbourne and my head is spinning.  When I get off this flight, I pack up all my belongings  and also sell off and give away as much as I can. I am moving out of my apartment in Melbourne that I have called home for the last little while.  I am going to be living out of a suitcase for the next few months until I find a place in New York City to call home.

I am moving to New York.

These words do not even seem real.

In May last year, this thought had not even crossed my mind.   I actually had not even made my mind up properly until a few weeks ago.

Some may call me foolish. Some may think I am crazy.  All I know is in the importance of chasing after all that you desire with everything you have.

But before I attempt any packing.  I need to finally sit down and go through all the images I took in 2012. To look back and reflect upon what an amazing year it was.

It was a beautiful year. It had a lot of ups and downs. Laughter and tears. Heartbreaks and aches. Right decisions and wrong decisions.  But most importantly it was a year that taught me that anything is possible.

It was a crazy year.

2013 is already going to be more so. It already is.  I am going to write another blog post about that this week.

But until then, here is a look back at my wedding and portrait work from 2012. Being a photographer is a peculiar thing. I step into people’s lives for a day, wander around with them and report back my findings through a series of images. I have become an anthropologist.  In the process I spend some pretty intimate moments with them. I will never take that for granted. So here is all the very amazing people I had the honor of photographing in 2012.  Thank you to all my clients that has made all this possible. Thank you for letting me witness this all. x

 

 

 ♥♥♥

 

 

instagram life

 

I am on Instagram. Everyone is on instagram. It definitely opened my eyes up and made me look at the world in new and interesting ways. It makes plane rides more fun and long taxi rides less boring. It connects me with talented people all over the world and lets me see the daily happenings of my family & friends wherever they may be. My mum can track me, she can find out I am still alive and does not have to wonder where on earth I am.

I love finding new people to follow and inspire me, through their adventures, art or daily happenings.

You can follow along my adventures at @sammblake

 

xoxo

aimee & tim

 

Aimee & Tim married in late March last year on Aimee’s parents property that she grew up playing in. Aimee is a darling friend of mine, she is a talented photographer and works with me at many of my weddings. It was such a pleasure to travel back to Western Australia to photograph her wedding for her. Weddings under the stars are my favorite. x

 

♥♥♥

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.

 

REBECCA & WILLIE . PORTLAND, OREGON

 

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.

FEATURED ON ONCEWED {REBECCA & WILLIE – PORTLAND, OREGON, USA}

I photographed the most loveliest, sweetest, prettiest little wedding in Portland, Oregon on a beautiful summers day in July. Today it is featured on Oncewed –  go check it out for a sneak peek and I will be blogging my favourites from this wedding next week :)

 

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.

 

♡♡♡

FEATURED ON STYLE ME PRETTY {ERIN & SCOTT – WAIHEKE ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND)

Earlier this year, I traveled to a little place in New Zealand called Waiheke Island to document the celebrations of the amazing wedding of Erin & Scott. Today their wedding is featured on Style Me Pretty. Check it out.

I will feature this wedding on here very soon. x

 

WAITING FOR THE WHAT

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.

 

x

 

SARAH & ROB




 

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.

FRANCESCA + JEAN-MAURICE . MANTOVA, ITALY

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.

 

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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 :)

♥♥♥

REINNA & CHRISTIAN

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!