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TOP 10 Photos of 2016

It’s All About the Message

It’s when you can feel it.

2016 was filled with business and personal projects. The lines between the two are often blurred. That’s how it looks from my viewfinder.

The Secret by Marc Blake Photography & Video Production

MARC BLAKE’S 2016 TOP 10 PHOTOS COUNTDOWN: #10 “Walking the Tightrope of Survival”

In this image I am making a visual statement with my observations of today’s tragically entertaining global economic and human condition. This begins with our City leader’s 30 year effort trying to figure out how to revitalize Downtown Fresno and make their global claim that “Fresno Matters.” 200 million dollars is being spent to put the defibrillator to the heart of Fresno and wake downtown from the dead. My numbers may be a bit wrong… doesn’t matter. It’s more than a few hundred being spent. I’m a cheerleader for the project and believe with a strong, ongoing campaign we can make this work. Personally, my vehicle to contribute to this long-term battle is the arts. My personal goal for 2017 is to make Fresno a global destination based on the local (artistic) talent we do have in our community and nearby. For those that are of the doubting Thomas mindset, I created FREXIT for you which points to the highway out of town. The next part of my image is the unseen, yet imagined emotional games that many are struggling with trying to balance the political scales of right and wrong, fair and “how dare you” with President Trump’s remake of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” Few realize he already built the wall and Mexico did pay for it. If you are Mexican you’ll get this. I’ve been in the fields with migrant workers. Almost ALL of them are SO VERY ILLEGAL. Almost ALL of them are wonderful loving people. Gomer Pyle says it best, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” I have no position. Today, I’m a photographic writer in the middle of a great dream. Finally, I am making fun of the “eclectic” economic and human condition that, when mixed with a bit of greedy seasoning has children wondering why they are surrounded by rubble, bleeding. I’m not talking about war zones (but that’s there and real also). I’m talking about you and I and how we paint our day with aspirations and good deeds and too often “are” vulnerable to having the rug pulled out from under our feet. Not sure what I mean? Pick one to understand: Crime, Hate, Disease, War, Death, Bill Collectors, People who wear horizontal stripes, Cell phones during the love scene, Your sick child. Combined, this is the statement of my #10 photo (of ten) for 2016. It’s serious business walking the tightrope. You have to be well-trained, wear the correct shoes, stay focused, have way more faith than a Sunday a week at church and most important buy into the Amuhau (…don’t worry, that’s not a cult or some incense-burning spiritual thing I swim in. It’s simply a theme from my trilogy of screenplays. (Merzan) It turned out to be the driving force of my scripts if you don’t count the fact that I simply cannot stand not to create stuff. I hope our aerial acrobat makes it to the other side of his walk.

TRIBUTE #10: (Hoyt Axton) “Do you believe in dreams? Do you believe in dreamers? Hoping that you’ll find what you’re looking for. You don’t have to worry. There’s a bright tomorrow…”

NOTE: 6 foot limited edition of 10 gallery prints available: $10,393
TAGS: Discover Downtown Fresno Frexit Amuhau Merzan

MARC BLAKE’S 2016 TOP 10 PHOTOS COUNTDOWN: #9 “SHE ONLY WANTED TO FEEL SAFE”

Life is a storm. Often vicious, often exhilarating. Some thrive on the adventure. Some sleep through the journey hoping to wake upon arrival at the destination. Some work very hard to prepare for the destination and are focused on that quest. Learning to see through the debris of the storm is a destination of its own. Knowing that you are safe is the cloak of life that might provide the peace that is difficult to find. In this image I ask you to consider your own safety, not theirs. It’s only a photo session I designed to raise the question. Your considerations may cause you to consider the safety of those around you. Serve.

NOTE: 4 foot limited edition of 10 gallery prints available: $6,436

MARC BLAKE’S 2016 TOP 10 PHOTOS COUNTDOWN: #8 “IT’S MY SKIN”

I invited Pieter to join me at my studio for a photo session for two reasons. One: Because life is fragile. Two: Because this artist is comfortable with himself. Even if he (really) isn’t and who (really) is, he has “that” vibe. That attracts me. I want to grow up and feel that way someday. Another thing that attracts me about this (gentle)man is that he often says, “dammit” and it feels like he is saying “bless you.” He knows something (we) don’t know and THAT is what I wanted to capture in my image of this man. He’s got good skin. I have a feeling it can rub off on others. How’s your skin feeling?

NOTE: 5 foot limited edition of 10 gallery prints available: $9,549

MARC BLAKE’S 2016 TOP 10 PHOTOS COUNTDOWN: #7 “MOONSHADOW LOVE”

My number 7 pick for 2016 is an introspective look at a world of spiritual reality. Me? I love the fantasy and hang out there plenty. It’s the motivation for most of what I create. It’s “my” Hollywood. Being born, raised and working there I am environmentally affected by the whole “something big with a lot of lights” Disneyesque dream. In this photo, Deri Candice Lasher draws from within her own spirit which (I believe) is driven by a world beyond what we see while running back and forth to work, or school or the grocery store each day. Some find it or feel it in nature. Others in that book. I find it in what I am given. It’s my path. My destiny. I’m a victim and that makes me very vulnerable and lucky. While all this goes on, the reality is our test to change our destiny. Talk about a fine balance. No one has the answer. I will give you a clue. There never was a question.

TRIBUTE #8: “Those beautiful sailors journeyed to the South and the North Americas with ease, in their ships with painted sails…” [Donovan]

NOTE: 4 foot limited edition of 10 gallery prints available: $7,818

MARC BLAKE’S 2016 TOP 10 PHOTOS COUNTDOWN: #6 “QUEEN EEVA OF MO’ORE’A”

Actress Olivia May graciously stepped into my K-Jewel Studio providing me a first opportunity to enact a scene from my trilogy of screenplays. This scene is from the prequel, which I wrote after my first three scripts. It’s about discovery. A young woman born and raised in Paris finds herself transplanted on the other side of the world. It’s very different here from the home she had come to know. Dropped by destiny into the center of an entirely different culture, it wasn’t enough that she was uprooted from her life growing up inside the walls of the most important museum in the world. Her father was a curator there and she became known worldwide as, “the Daughter of the Louvre.” Élise Rousseau, now called “Eeva” (Star of the Night) by her husband, King Temaru could not have children. Even so, she would soon give birth to the gift that the Gods of the Island have chosen to send to Earth, the Princess Matahina (The Daughter of the Island). Eeva’s is a story of destiny that positions her as one of the central figures in a fantastic adventure that reawakens the eternal quest for the world’s most precious gift. Interested in more information about the screenplays? Contact Marc and ask about the “Merzan Trilogy.”

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NOTE: a 5 foot limited edition (10) gallery print available: $29,645

MARC BLAKE’S 2016 TOP 10 PHOTOS COUNTDOWN: #5 “UNOBTRUSIVE”

When something attractive, either lovely or in some other motivating manner, appears without (contrived) pomp it is quietly rare and refreshing. In this photo, model Salena Dominguez certainly portrayed a lovely subject for this shoot and does possess that gentle nature. I’m talking about something more with my #5 Top 10 pick. It’s more about personality and how that influences one’s path. Some are loud, yet never get discovered. Some push through the granite of life risking themselves with every move. Some are shy and afraid to lift their head and open their eyes to see who is watching. Some don’t particularly care and prefer to simply be left alone. At some point, wouldn’t it be nice to have the warm rays of the sun reach out like a caring hand to brush your cheek just enough so you know, whatever your personality, that things are okay? Wouldn’t it be nice to know peace and have others around you see it and want it also? This is a story that my own destiny has compelled me to tell. Learn more about my trilogy of screenplays by visiting: Princess Matahina, Geneviève, amuhau, Merzan.

Stay Informed, TEXT: photographer TO: 40691

Get all of Marc’s 2016 Top 10 sent to your phone: TEXT: top10 TO: 71441

NOTE: a 5 foot limited edition (10) gallery print available: $29,645

MARC BLAKE’S 2016 TOP 10 PHOTOS COUNTDOWN: #4 “YOUNG AND OLD AND OLDER”

I began studying art history in Europe when I was 15 years old. I was a young photographer then. I used film (this silver halide coated celluloid stuff from the days when there was a band called, “The Beatles”). I was called into the Old Fresno Wood Mill in 2016 for a marketing campaign project and found a familiarity in this hundred year old local structure. Playfully, I combined my circa late 60’s photo of “Child with a Doll” and the west end interior of the mill to produce this artsy black and white image. Little did I know, when I was age 15, that one of my early images would one day play hero to a Top 10 list. Discovery is introspective just like the original message of the Child with a Doll.

Stay Informed, TEXT: photographer TO: 40691

Get all of Marc’s 2016 Top 10 sent to your phone: TEXT: top10 TO: 71441

NOTE: a 5 foot limited edition (10) gallery print available: $29,645

MARC BLAKE’S 2016 TOP 10 PHOTOS COUNTDOWN: #3 “SUPERMOON RISING NEAR THE PACIFIC SOUTHWEST BUILDING”

I decided to go the extra mile (literally) to find an angle where the (once in a lifetime) super moon would find it’s way near Fresno’s most proud and tallest building. I rented a 600mm lens from our local camera superstore, Horn Photo and was on my way. I created this shot that got the attention (and likes) of thousands of people and several TV stations. It was even broadcasted on the air. I lost count of how popular this shot became on facebook. This image also is enjoying an afterlife. You WILL see it rise here and there ongoing. It’s about commitment and trust. I believed beforehand that I could achieve something special with my camera. Of course, nature was helpful. Next, was to put my plan to work for me believeng that there would be those who would enjoy the results of my effort. Hoyt Axton wrote, “There’s a little white moon sittin’ in the sky. It doesn’t do nothing but shine, shine, shine. If the moon could talk, I wonder what the moon would say.”

Stay Informed, TEXT: photographer TO: 40691

Get all of Marc’s 2016 Top 10 sent to your phone: TEXT: top10 TO: 71441

NOTE: a 5 foot limited edition (10) gallery print available: $29,645

MARC BLAKE’S 2016 TOP 10 PHOTOS COUNTDOWN: #2 “THE ART OF LOVE”

I watch college and professional football. The journey to the winner’s circle requires commitment. I notice that I am always touched by films where one’s dedication to cause is the main theme. Then, after all those “uh oh” moments in a story are finally FINALLY overcome there is an emotional response achieved by the screenwriter and filmmaker. This is what attracts me most about Angelo, A.S. He’s a very grounded and committed artist with his (creative) head and heart’s desires so far up in the clouds that the thin air where he goes would destroy most who try to see what it’s like, or, survive up there. That’s where I met Angelo. It was in that place where fantasy becomes reality because you become the creator of a world that only exists in the most prolific imagination. This place and mindset is one of many only found in the Land of Art. The stories written by the artist who resides and plays and works there is a romantic novel that transcend the pleasures and pains of this world. Typically, the only return this type of artist receives is a rare glimpse from someone else’s eyes that it is okay. Finding another who believes is the payoff. This payoff never lasts long. It’s spent quickly when reality consumes you with its antagonistic pursuits. Even so, there are those along the path that look into our windowed portals and see those of us inside this Land of Art who turn their heads curiously with encouragement and support our cause. John Ostlund and Bob Sullivan come to mind. There are others. You’ll hear about them soon, as I continue my trek to help make Fresno a global destination in 2017. Without them I’m defeated before lifting my hand to do so. For Angelo and I they are the translators that help people like us soar and remind us that we must come down for air occasionally. Then, they go on to help us do so. So this #2 image of my Top 10 Photos for 2016 is a love story for people like this that help people like that romance this dream most of you know as life. Then there are the children we embrace that become our family. They are the ones we live our art for and they are the ones that create as well. They are not actually a child as you would define the term. They are the others who bring their talent and commitment to their artistic pursuits into our realms that, together, make us feel like an army of color painting the landscapes of time with blessings that people like David Phillips speak of and wish upon all that cross their path. In this photo Angelo closes his eyes. While doing so, he journeys into his desert of time where he finds a musical note that plays a song only he can hear. It’s played with such pristine tone that we believe we can hear it as well. We cannot. You can’t hear a spirit like Aminat. You can only embrace the idea and believe, and believe and believe. Everyone who knows the commitment required to pursue the art of love in the Land of Art should see themselves when looking at this photograph. Angelo and Amina willingly stepped into my studio so that the three of of us could create a visual mirror to allow you to see yourself in this often mystical place.

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NOTE: a 5 foot limited edition (10) gallery print available: $41,512

MARC BLAKE’S 2016 TOP 10 PHOTOS COUNTDOWN: #1 “PROJECTS & FANTASY”

How fragile the life of a photographer. I have (quality) camera gear. My #1 Top photo of 2016 was taken sitting at the signal, in my vehicle, and (quickly) grabbing my iPhone. CLICK… a snapshot. I was probably clever enough to at least roll down the window to avoid shooting through the windshield. I was on my way to a job. I call it a project because that gives things a life of its own. Admittedly, I do live in a fantasy. However, I didn’t know that was so until my horoscope was read to me. Now that I know, I embrace it and pretend it’s real. DISCLAIMER: It’s very risky to believe that a world seen through “rose-colored glasses” is real. DISCLAIMER of the DISCLAIMER: It’s more risky not to. The fantasy is where I create the world I want (for me that is). It’s devastating when someone breaks the fourth wall though. Olivia May is an actor. She would understand how dangerous it is too breech that (4th) wall while one is in the middle of a well-written scene. My dramatic scenes are a series of comedies, dramas, tragedies and more, most over seasoned with all fantasies which I risk myself everyday to share with you through my heavily excessively-edited photographic art.

Stay Informed, TEXT: photographer TO: 40691

Get all of Marc’s 2016 Top 10 sent to your phone: TEXT: top10 TO: 71441

NOTE: a 15 foot limited edition (of only 10 produced) gallery print available: $112,112

POST PREQUEL – My Top 10 photos for 2016 are simply a conversation that is in line with things that help us in and out of reality.