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Samm Blake: The Art Of Emotion

Photo by Samm Blake

“The biggest thing my clients tell me is that they love my black-and-white images,” she says. “Maybe because the ones I choose to put in black-and-white are very nostalgic sort of images that kind of feel like they’re out of someone else’s photo album from a long time ago. Also, my all-time favorite images are always underexposed, for some reason. That’s my favorite way to photograph. I think that’s always playing in my head, to try and shoot like that. And that’s what I like a lot about my black-and-white images, that I can get away with doing a bit of that underexposed thing more. I’m not afraid to make really dark, grainy black-and-white portraits.”

Blake isn’t afraid to break many of the rules of wedding photography because she doesn’t exactly consider herself a wedding photographer. She’s not in denial, it’s just that she avoids the classification because the label can be—often unfairly—stigmatized. People hear “wedding photographer” and they think they know what she does. She would argue they most certainly do not.

Hiring Blake is akin to inviting an artist to the event and asking her to interpret it in her own free-form way. Her images are beautiful and romantic, engaging and emotive, even when the viewer has no connection to the bride and groom. Where many wedding photographers may follow a formula, Blake trusts her vision and responds to what makes each ceremony unique. This doesn’t mean, however, that she’s free to forget that she’s also, in fact, a wedding photographer.

“I always shoot a wedding as if it was my own,” she says, “like what I would want at my wedding. And, of course, I would want family photos and group shots. So I understand that they’re important because I would want them taken at my wedding, as well. I’ve always been happy to do the boring shots and such because they’re important to the bride. And it’s not that painful to do, at the end of the day. Of course, this day isn’t about photograp
hy—the photography is a cool aspect of it, but the best aspect is all your friends and family who love you the most in the world are here to celebrate you.”

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