WHISTLER ART SCENE – Blake Jorgenson
By Jules Older

Whistler is a “Triple A” place: action, athleticism and adventure. The photographer who has best succeeded in capturing the entire A-list is Blake Jorgenson.

Beginning in Whistler and radiating out to Alaska, China, the Gobi Desert, the Australian Outback and wherever athletes test the limits of human achievement, Blake Jorgenson is the Rembrandt of action photography.

“When I was 16, I came to Whistler on a ski trip with my mom and knew right then and there that this was where I wanted to be. I came back a few years later and never left.”

And a few years later, he did indeed return. “I was very into art but had no interest in school or even having a career. I just wanted to spend time in the outdoors and ski.”

Blake Jorgenson feels the same today. “It’s the lifestyle of skiing and the outdoors that is the primary focus.”

Chair Lift Ride at Night.

To study Blake Jorgenson’s images is to quickly see how true that statement is. The outdoors, and perhaps more so, the outdoors in winter, is a repeated theme. Snow is almost a constant, and if flakes are not falling in the shot, they’re lurking behind a ski mechanic’s deep gaze, for example, or a dark forest resonating autumnal chill. His photos range from the stark black-on-white, such as a somber image of raptors in flight, to more vibrant colors in a kinetic display of a kayaker racing through rapids.

Jorgenson explains how he creates: “To me a good photograph starts with a good sense of time and place, a detailed understanding of a unique environment. It may be one we have never seen, or a new look at one we see everyday.

“The next part is recognizing relationships to these environments, whether it’s someone in the photo, or an understanding of your own interests, or the people you are going to show the photo to. All of my photos are based on this theory, combined with the idea that photos are built with a process, not snapped or captured. They are constructed from the ground up with an idea, a way of packaging information to be shown that creates thought and understanding.”

“All of my images are based in this outdoor environment and my connection to it. The skier or biker or maybe just another part of the environment within itself creates a story or sense of what it’s like to be there and what it’s like to experience that moment without being there. To me, that is the power of photography.”

Because Jorgenson must stay fit enough to keep up with the athletes he shoots, photography provides the motivation. That requires dedication, and he admits, “I don’t think I would be doing it nearly as much if the photography was not such a driving force.”

Blake Jorgenson’s photographic works are on display this winter at Whistler’s Adele Campbell Fine Art Gallery.