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Bonnie Blake

Member of the Month October 2023

Featured image for post Bonnie Blake

Artist Statement

“What we most need to do is to hear within us the sound of the earth crying.”

– Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

I use the act of taking photographs to connect to the complexity and beauty of the natural world. I experience the seductive moments of, as Robert Adams wrote, “astonishment” when the ocean waves create flowing lines in the sand or the hard horizon line transforms into shimmering stripes of color. I also create portraits of beachcombers and surfers who appear as kindred spirits sharing these special places.

Alternating between a documentary style and experimenting with intentional camera movement, my visceral response to these places has become heightened by their imminent devastation from climate change and over development. All of these images regardless of their visual style are reflections on transition, loss, fragility and the passage of time.

My project “Collages from the Edge” involved constructing conceptual collages from my images of the Pacific coastline. I physically reassembled fragments of waves, surfers, sunsets and eroding cliffs to create scenes of chaos. Cutting up my prints and destroying my careful compositions heightened my feelings of personal loss and sorrow at the prospect of sea level rising. As a lifelong movie lover and camera operator on films and episodic television, the work is a nod to classic movies and cartoons from my childhood that depicted natural disasters as mythic monsters where huge fissures from natural disasters swallowed up entire cities.

Only by letting myself connect to places that have sustained me throughout my life, have I begun to really absorb the fact that they are a part of me that may be destroyed.



Bonnie Blake is a fine art photographer based in Los Angeles with roots in Louisville, Kentucky and New York City. Her belief that beauty can be an agent of change inspires her to express her concern about the destruction of our natural environment from climate change.

Blake holds a B.A. in literature from Vanderbilt University and an M.F.A. in Theatre from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked as a camera operator in the entertainment industry on music videos, documentaries, commercials, features, episodic television and educational programs such as the TED talks. She teaches at The University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. She has studied still photography with Fran Antmann in New York City and with Aline Smithson, Cig Harvey, Just Loomis, Susan Burnstine and Sara Terry at the Los Angeles Center of Photography.

Her photographs have been exhibited in juried group shows in venues such as the Auburn Gallery, 1650 Gallery, Photo Place Gallery, Praxis Gallery, A. Smith Gallery and in the Unbound12! Exhibition at the Candela Gallery. She won honorable mention for two images in the 2020 Creative Portrait Exhibit at the Los Angeles Center of Photography. Her work has also been featured in several Lenscratch exhibits including an article in 2021 highlighting her project “Breakfast with the Los Angeles Times,” a document of daily life during the pandemic. Her image “El Matador Beach Heartbreak” received honorable mention at the Los Angeles Center of Photography Lifecycles Exhibit in April 2023.