Someone asked me what home was and all I could think of were the stars on the tip of your tongue. The flowers sprouting from your mouth, the roots entwined in the gaps between your fingers, and the ocean echoing inside of your ribcage. – EC
Arlene is one of my close friends. We grew up in the same small town in Australia together. We went to high school together. We went to university together. We became photographers together. We got our first studio space together. Now I am living in New York and she is heading off to live in the Solomon Islands to live with her lovely new husband Jake, our lives are now at two different extremes. I’m the city girl and she is the ocean loving free spirited one. It was such an honor to travel back to Perth to photograph her wedding day for he and more of an honor when Arlene is an amazing wedding photographer.
It was so great to be photographing an occasion where there were familiar faces and old dear friends.
Beyond excited to see where Arlene and Jake’s travels take them. Excited for their new life in the Solomon Islands.
Thank you to the my ever awesome sidekick Aimee who helped me out shooting this wedding :)
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.
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! :)
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
Coney Island and Brighton Beach. Brooklyn, New York.
This place is magical. Something about stretch of sand that leaves me with such intrigue. These images are from a day I spent at the seaside in August. I eagerly await my return in a few weeks time. I am curious to go explore this place in the winter time.
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
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
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.