Blake Gordon Photography

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The Edwards Aquifer for The Nature Conservancy
Medina Lake, Texas / 01.31.2012

Medina Lake, Texas / 01.31.2012

Earlier in the year, I had a fantastic assignment from The Nature Conservancy to create photographs for a story on the Edwards Aquifer in Central Texas. Not only was this a relevant land-based story in Texas during a time of critical drought, but the photo editor, Melissa Ryan, came to me interested in a more artistic interpretation of the subject.

With the welcomed creative freedom comes the responsibility of producing something unique with finite resources. Exploring the relationship between landscape and culture is central to my personal research and I was thrilled at the opportunity to utilize that way of seeing for a client. On my end, that involves quite a bit of exploring and looking for subtle moments in the interaction between people and place that speak of our larger condition.

The story was shot on film with a Hasselblad and a single 80mm lens. The square format is atypical for magazine work, but gave the images the sense of a formal documentation that we were looking for. The design team did a great job of maintaining the strength of the images through a consistent pacing in the layout. Exploration and constant refinement to the point of exhaustion are certainly a part of my process with personal work and I am very grateful that the rest of the team worked so hard to create something beyond a typical editorial assignment.

Read the article HERE.

View a gallery of images HERE.

See a video about the process HERE.

nightworks in WEND magazine

midnight in January from Grand View Point

WEND is featuring a selection of nightworks of the Colorado Plateau in their SNAP gallery this month. WEND is a great magazine that keeps its adventure storytelling authentic primarily through engaging first-person narratives. They're based in Seattle and also have a strong commitment to environmental ethics as a business.
"Silence and emptiness convey divine immanence by their lack of prosaic forms. The desert is the environment of revelation, genetically and physiologically alien, sensorily austere, esthetically abstract, historically inimical. It is always described as boundless and empty, but the human experience there is never merely existential. Its solitude is a not-empty void, a not-quiet silence. Its forms are bold and suggestive." - Tom Shepard, Man in the Landscape

Slideluck Potshow: Austin

SLIDELUCK POTSHOW convened in Austin for the second time, approximately one year after its debut appearance. It was at the Shangri-La again, which was a fantastic outdoor venue again. I didn't have the opportunity to help out with production this year due to having zero free time, but did have a piece in the show.

I put together a piece on the migratory massing of snowbirds in Quartzsite, AZ. Once home to the training ground of military camels, then a precious rock & gem show, and now thousands upon thousands of RV-based snowbirds who flock seasonally to the Mojave Desert. Its a rich fieldsite for invesitagating swarm intelligence.

NPR: Houston's Third Ward

I shot a series of images of Houston's Third Ward for NPR's Morning Edition this past Monday. The photo editor at NPR, Coburn Dukehart, was great in that she gave me the freedom to shoot the story however I saw fit. It was quite a blessing that had me digging a bit deeper for engaging images.

I met the Steve Inskeep of the Morning Edition and state rep Garnet Coleman for a tour of the Third Ward. The piece was on gentrification in the Third Ward. Being an issue I muse on anyway, it was great to get a story that played into my training as a landscape architect. Following around the Morning Edition crew was a great insight on their process - very professional. I shot during the day, but ended up getting a lot of great material at night. The urban form really puts itself on display during those sleeping hours.

The story and online gallery can be found here.

Smithsonian Magazine: Mammoth Site

I shot some images at the Mammoth Site in South Dakota for SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE via Aurora Photos, my photo agency. The story will be published in April 2010, so it will be a while with images. It was the last week of the summer season for a volunteer team to assist with the perpetual dig. The sit is of a prehistoric sink hole where young (primarily male - read into this) mammoths ventured to the watering hole to riskily and never returned. Modern man thanks these young males for their sacrifice to our cultural and scientific knowledge machine.

The drive from Salt Lake City (from the Outdoor Retailer Convention) through Wyoming to the Badlands was long, but spectacular. On the return I camped in Ogalla National Grassland, a beautiful, beautiful place. The image above is from there.