Billy Blake: Images From The Ashes The Story of Triumph over Tragedy

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Billy Blake, 71, in a flash, a moment, woke up to a raging fire rising up over the Malibu hillside and marching down the canyons engulfing his home, thirty years of work and almost everything, including his wherewithal, his hope, all lost.

A fine art photographer, for fifty years Blake had an artist’s life in Malibu, his time was spent capturing through the camera lens glorious sunny days and endless dreamy, perfect, sunsets.  

His story is best served by allowing him the opportunity to tell how this tragedy, without discrimination,  took all  and brought him out on the other side with a story that only comes from the ashes, the rubble, the debris, the ruins of a life of work gone in an instant.

The remainder of Bill Blake’s account is in the first person, his story told by him.

But I summoned the resolve, and “rose above it”, and I want to share the story. Since getting off my depressed butt, I have re-created lost photos, and now I am finally doing it - publishing a book of my work. Of course, I needed financial assistance to do it now, so I launched a project on kickstarter and I have to say – I am loving my time in the crowd funding community as their resident senior citizen.

I grew up in NY as “that kid with the camera”. I was a street photographer, and I once spent a day with John Lennon, another with a then-funny Woody Allen. I photographed Mel Brooks and Alfred Hitchcock together, the only time they met. All of it is gone.

I then had a long career in entertainment as the publisher of Millimeter magazine, and then as a producer of feature films based on song titles. Yes, I am the Einstein-like genius who conceived of a film called Rhinestone where Sylvester Stallone would sing country – one critic said "I saw it on an airplane and walked out". But all through my life, fine art photography always was, and always will be my greatest passion.

I’ve had acclaim – awards and featured gallery exhibitions on both coasts. But I never did a book. Despite urgings from friends and publicists, I just never did.

Finally, in 2008, I was ready, so I cleared out my basement and began the arduous task of digitizing thousands of negatives in preparation for my book, at long last.

Then, on July 3, 2008, I awoke in the middle of the night with a start. I don’t know if I heard something, smelled something, or maybe it was just simply one of those eerie premonitions that comes from a place all its own. There was an orange glow.

And while we had experienced many shades of the color orange since Peggy and I made our home renting a modest place on the beautiful Malibu beachfront, I never before saw orange at 3:30AM! The orange began to dip and dive and I soon realized my neighbor’s house was on fire and it was heading our way.

My first inclination was to go get my camera to document the moment. But there was no time. I woke up Peggy, she grabbed the dog and we stopped for nothing. Less than a minute from the time I awoke, we opened the front door to exit, and thick grey smoke billowed inside.

We just closed our eyes, took a deep breath, and ran blindly through the smoke. We never came back. On the way out, there was a small bag, fortuitously left on the path to the front door, which contained disks comprising my digital library of photographs. I am thankful for that. But nothing else survived, and the basement with all the negatives was no more.

The fire destroyed everything, even melted the computer hard drives. That fateful day, three Pacific Coast Highway homes burned to the ground.

I spent months kicking myself over the loss of all my work (not to mention an insurance lapse, which buried me economically). Peggy – a practicing Buddhist and more grounded than me - impressed upon me that I should be thankful I had awakened when I did, and that I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and do something proactive and constructive. Well, I may not listen to reason right away, but I like to think I listen eventually.

I resolved to re-create my favorite lost photos, and do it in a faithful way, capturing their original essence. It took 3+ years and was cathartic.

Now, I am going to publish my first-ever book of photography entitled IMAGES … From the Ashes. The book will feature the re-creations along with narratives about each, stories that will immortalize the originals.

The kickstarter campaign has been a marvelous experience. I have not yet reached the target, but the process of engaging others, and belonging to such a cool community – it’s made me younger.

That’s the story. Is the message here about my personal journey? No, I think it’s larger than that. I believe we all experience futility, a force beyond our control.

But nothing can beat us down for good if we won’t let it. The human spirit can truly be indomitable. And if we seek that spirit from within and embrace it, we can rise above anything. When the book is published, I will feel like it’s come full circle – from devastation to salvation.

I am blessed with two great kids and three grandkids. Peggy and I reside in Santa Monica with our dog Chance, who was rescued from the fire, and has generously pledged three bone-ys to my kickstarter campaign.

The book’s website is www.imagesfromtheashes.com, and the campaign is onwww.kickstarter.com in the photography category. You can contact me there too, and if you have any similar tale of resolve, I’d really love to hear it. 

 

For more information: www.imagesfromtheashes.com

 

For information on the Kickstarter Campaign: www.kickstarter.com


евакуатор киев
матрас ортопедический киев
свадебние платья

 

Haute Tease

  • Five Children, Including Three Toddlers, Among the Dead in Arizona Flash Flood

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A horrific flash flood has left a community devastated after a family escaping the blistering Phoenix heat at a favorite Arizona watering hole died when a pounding thunderstorm upstream sent a wall of water and debris barreling down the gorge.

     
  • AFI FEST 2015 Presented By AUDI Announces Jury and Audience Award Winners

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi ended its 29th Season, a special Awards brunch was held paying tribute to the countless volunteers and announcing the feature and short films receiving this year’s Jury and Audience Awards.

     
  • Muscle Shoals Review – An All Access Pass into Rock and Roll History

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    “Muscle Shoals,” from Magnolia Pictures and Ear Goggle Productions, presents the inspiring journey of a group of unknown musicians plucked from obscurity and placed center stage as they create rock and roll history.

     
  • Hurricane Irma Barrels Down on Florida Coast; Mandatory Evacs; Obliterates Caribbean; 20 Dead

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hurricane Irma, the strongest Atlantic storm ever recorded, has caused an unprecedented precaution measure with Florida's Governor Rick Scott issuing a mandatory evacuation order for more than 5.6 million residents which account to nearly 25 percent of the state's population.

     
  • Del Frisco Grille NYC Review - Tender Twists on Comfort Food Classics

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    When I travel to New York City, I seek out those venues where I can be “one with the natives” and immerse myself in the local culture to get a true sense of an area. Sometimes such gastronomic gems are hiding in plain sight, as is the case with Del Frisco Grille New York.

Crime

  • Gas Main Explosion Levels Building in East Village; Scores Injured

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A suspected gas main explosion leveled a building on Manhattan’s lower east side injuring dozens some critical as firefighters attempted to contain the quickly spreading seven alarm inferno before it consumed the adjoining buildings.

     
  • Five Dallas Police Officers Dead; Seven Others Injured in Peace March Ambush

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Five Dallas Police Officers have died and seven others injured in an ambush as a protest over the recurring use of excessive and deadly force against unarmed African Americans turned violent leaving a city and nation stunned.

     
  • Crime City USA: The Top Thirty Murder Capitals

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Crime rates are decreasing across large cities in the United States, but murder rates are on the rise.  

  • Theater Shooter, James Holmes, Formally Sentenced

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Theater Shooter, James Holmes who walked into the Aurora Cinemark 16, in full tactical gear, tossed a smoke bomb designed to get his targets to stand, and systematically slaughtered 12 moviegoers and wounded another 70.

     
  • McDonald’s Worker Sells Heroin in Happy Meals

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Pittsburgh McDonald’s fast food employee was arrested and charged with possession of narcotics for distribution as she reportedly sold heroin in Happy Meals to pre-arranged buyers through the drive through window.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • The Orphan Keeper Review – Astounding, Inspirational, Remarkable

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Orphan Keeper, from Shadow Mountain Publishing, tells an epic story of a boy kidnapped from India, sold to an orphanage and adopted to the United States over 8,000 miles away and the miracle that would follow.

     
  • The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston - A Page Turning Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Sword & Scabbard, from Allen Woods, looks as if it would appeal to Boston’s very tony elite, not until pushing through the labyrinth of technology interruptions does one realizes Woods has created a page turning account of corruption, violence, and a bloody re-revolution massacre.

     
  • Broadway's Best: Celebrating the Music of Ron Abel

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Birdland, the legendary Manhattan Jazz Club, played host for two nights only to celebrate, one of Broadway's best and Hollywood's hottest talents, composer and musical genius Ron Abel.

     
  • Blondie and Garbage To Co-Headline Rage And Rapture Summer 2017 Tour (Music/Tix Links)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Blondie & Garbage announced their North American tour will kick off on July 5th in Saratoga, CA and wrap on August 12th in Dallas, TX. John Doe & Exene Cervenka will provide support on the first leg of the tour and Deap Vally for the second.

     
  • Seven Continents Book Review - The World At Your Fingertips

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Seven Continents, from Schiffer Publishing, brings together an unforgettable fifteen year collection of photography amassed through personal travel by Dr. Mohan Bhasker, of unique and remarkable imagery, the expected and the unexpected captures, across each continent.