Brent Blake – An American Portrait and a Wall of Cameras


Folio-Brent-BlakeBrent is an artist who manages a gallery in in Soap Lake near my studio. He does a lot of abstract work these days, but has a rich history in many art genres. Many years ago he started in architecture and has practiced many styles over the years, including a recent collection of colorful but simple large wall portraits that are quite compelling.

Brent is a very minimal sort of guy who’s apartment is filled with modernist decor.  I wanted to make an American Portrait of Brent on 4×5 film that was both minimal and showcased the work and space he occupied. We even used his favorite chair in planning this image. We lit it simply, while showing a body of his work in the background.

It was a fun portrait. While not expected, Brent gave me a gift in return. Brent is a bit of the mind that everything is art. While I have some disagreement with him there, it does inspire him to use interesting things in his work that I would never consider. He makes projects out of just about anything and he gave me this piece he made with old cameras sturdily mounted to a black base meant for hanging on the wall. It made a neat addition to our studio and is quite a collection to look at. It’s planned well too. The cameras are all old point and shoot units, which should prevent me from wanting to pull them off to use them. More importantly that yellow one off to the right gives a perfect nod to tone and composition that really fits me. It’s really cool.

Hope you enjoyed, Gav

Brent Blake _ Camera Wall


For Photographers. How it was made…

Technical Notes: Linhof Technica IV, 150mm Fujinon @ f5.6, 1/20, Portia 100 4×5 Film, Induro Tripod
Std C41 Development, Epson V700 Wet Scan, Lightroom 4 Silver Shadows conversion, Photoshop, Seim Effects tools.

Unlike many of my silver images this one was made on 4×5 color film and then converted to silver using Silver Shadows 2 and manual tweaks. This can work really well in digital scans, as it allows me to use channels to lighten and darken specific values in ways that I could not otherwise. In this case, that mainly effects how I placed the tones in the colorful paintings behind Brent. That one straight back is about 4ft square and has a lot of rich red. There are filters of course that effect colors in a black and white, but this time I did it in post and was happy with the results.

Of course I did my usual, controlling tone values, burning and dodging to master the final, but all and all this was a fairly simple process that was more about planning in camera than planning in post.

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