Hazel Blake Portrait: Blog https://www.hazelblake.com.au/blog en-us (C) Hazel Blake Portrait (Hazel Blake Portrait) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:09:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:09:00 GMT https://www.hazelblake.com.au/img/s/v-12/u8756823-o886366136-50.jpg Hazel Blake Portrait: Blog https://www.hazelblake.com.au/blog 30 120 The Little Studio Tour https://www.hazelblake.com.au/blog/2017/7/the-little-s Hi all, its been ages since I posted, in fact so much so that I have gone from doing only fine art photography to now stepping right into my new studio and launching a portrait business, so here is a tour of my lovely little studio.  Its the perfect place for you to come and be pampered, be brave and have beautiful portraits take of you celebrating your inner and outer beauty.



(Hazel Blake Portrait) Albany Hazel Blake Photography Western Australia portrait studio portraits https://www.hazelblake.com.au/blog/2017/7/the-little-s Fri, 07 Jul 2017 13:28:04 GMT
COURAGE AND VULNERABILITY https://www.hazelblake.com.au/blog/2016/6/courage-and-vulnerability WASHED UPOn a mid winter day, I donned my wedding dress and headed to the beach for some self portraiture. People passed and looked, but I was undaunted by their gaze or their possible opinions. Where did this courage come from?

I’ve been getting a lot of attention lately for my courage around self-portraiture and modeling for my own artworks, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about how my so called courage came about.

Firstly the word courage was derived from the Latin word cor – meaning heart and became used as “to tell a story of who you are with your whole heart”. 

When I first started my journey as a child, I was stilted with unworthiness and shame.  I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, later slim enough or clever enough.

I went through my teens believing that no one would ever love me, feeling judged and judging myself.  My saving grace was that all this struggle built in me a strong and reliable resilience. Where there was no love or support I had to build my own emotional fortress.

I believe it was this resilience that propelled my out of a loveless marriage in search of real love. It took me seven of the thirteen years of marriage to build the courage to leave and it is still to this day the hardest thing I have ever done. 

My whole life since then has been about living out loud.  Along the way I learned to say who I was with my whole heart.  I had to expose my vulnerability, because it was the only way through to my truth.   I made mistakes and changed my mind and direction many times, and in this I learned to be imperfect.

Somewhere in the last few years I’ve realized that people liked my honesty about all the risqué and messy parts of my life.  To me, my adventures have been about an intense struggle to find worthiness and yet other people have seen only courage.

Most recently through my self-portraiture, I have come to understand that when we show our vulnerability we are at our most beautiful.  Recognising and embracing our vulnerability, this is the way to live a courageous life. 

I now know that vulnerability and imperfection are required right next to strength and accomplishment, we need them both and together they give us courage.

With Love Hazel



(Hazel Blake Portrait) courage fine art resiliance self portraiture self-portrait vulnerability https://www.hazelblake.com.au/blog/2016/6/courage-and-vulnerability Mon, 20 Jun 2016 06:10:17 GMT
THE BROOKE SHADEN AUSTRALIAN RETREAT https://www.hazelblake.com.au/blog/2016/5/the-brooke-shaden-australian-retreat Hi there,

For a while now I have been inspired by Brooke Shaden.  I fell in love with her storytelling style, full of dark fairytales and rich colours.  I recognised a few months ago that it was very much the direction I wanted to take my own art.

For those of you who don't know her, Brooke Shaden is an amazing fine art photographer, writer and motivational speaker based Arizona, USA.  As you can see below she is an very talented conceptual artist, with a lovely dreamy, moody style. (Check out more of her work at www.brookeshaden.com)

Artwork by Brooke Shaden


I was lucky enough to meet Brooke last month and attend her intensive three day Australian Retreat in Melbourne.

Brooke was fantastic to work with, so open and honest, you can see really she cares about everyone, so much so that its impossible not to love her.  Her friends (assistants) Kelly, KD and Jen came with her and were also warm, funny and engaging and seriously knew how to look after our every need.

Group photo by Brooke

We stayed at the Nunnery guesthouse in Fitzroy and the first day we photographed in the Museum Gardens across the road.  This started with laying down and going to sleep - oops haha no I mean relaxing into creative daydreaming. 

This is us daydreaming, as you can see its very restful and absolutely a must on the to do list ! (Photo by Brooke)

After the daydreaming we broke into creative teams of three and took turns photographing each other's concepts.

Three different groups, three different stories! (Photo by Brooke)


Brooke Frances, Vicky McKay (photographing) and someone in a red cape :-)  (Photo by Brooke)


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Keira Hudson was a retreat participant, an excellent model and luckily on my team :-) 



The beautiful and talented Jen Brook came all the way from Manchester in the UK to model for us!


On the second and third day we were photographing at the insanely amazing Labassa Mansion in Caulfield North. 

The Labassa Mansion with all it's crazy inhabitants! (Photo by Brooke)

The Labassa Mansion was fantastic, fully restored and elegant on the ground floor and grungy and derelict on the upper floor, allowing us to have two very different images styles.  The light through the windows was stunning particularly through the stained glass window that lit the incredibly beautiful main staircase at the end of the grand hallway.  The main rule of the house was don't sit on the furniture (its old!),  don't touch the walls with all their very old and beautiful embossed wall paper and don't disturb the peeling paint!  Oh so hard to comply - but we did!!




The staircase and the stained glass windows were just beautiful and the light changed continuously throughout the day.


On the last day of shooting we had thirteen photographers and eight models including Brooke and her two friends. We arrived with a suitcase packed full of fantastic outfits and some props - rope, magnifying glass, lantern, blindfold etc   and we shot solidly for eight hours. The routine - plan your shot, grab a model, grab an outfit and a prop, shoot your concept and then let someone else have a go.





During the third day Brooke demonstrated three of her own concept shoots and then later that night she did a quick edit on the walking the wall shot.  Extending out the scene, and using her well honed skills controlling light and colour. One of the most endearing and surprising things about Brooke is her willingness to laugh at herself and make mistakes.  She's a consumate pro, and yet like all of us, she gets stuff wrong or doesn't know things.  I loved her humility and willingness to be "normal" - just like us ;-) !



We also had a play with smoke, although the wind was so strong at the front of the mansion that we were forced to improvise in the center courtyard.  (Of course we weren't allowed to have the smoke and matches inside because it is a heritage listed building).


So what did I learn – how to photograph more effectively so as to extend out my scenes when the field of view isn’t big enough.  How to get in the mood and conceptualise some good stories, understanding the value recognizable icons with universal meaning, and finally how to control the colours and light even more during the editing process. 

I was reminded that subtlety in artwork is beautiful and can be exquisitely and soulfully enhanced by the artist statement. This was evident both by looking at Brooke's work and the writing that accompanies each piece, but also later in the week by attending the Andy Warhol exhibition where I found his work visually not so much to my taste, but coupled with his messages powerful and moving.  Crafting art that speaks from within us is vitally important. I have unique messages and my own particular experiences and views that I want to be expressing and sharing with the world.

Brooke was an open book with regards to how she runs her business. She was extremely welcoming of questions and gave very sound advice. Finally I got such lovely positive feedback from my one-on-one session with her - praise and encouragement about my art and my direction so far and how to focus and move forward from here.

Interestingly there are friends who are telling me that they can see a shift in my work since the workshop – have a look and tell me if you agree. Below are some of my original photographs and artworks derived from them.  I have so many shots its going to take me ages to edit them all (which is a good thing, right!).






This particular photograph was a blindfold exercise.  I had a blindfold on and had to describe the scene to Brooke who takes the picture on my behalf.  This really make you think in detail and imagine the outcome. I have to vision and describe - the pose, where are her hands, can you see her face etc, then the camera angle and the exposure.  I have to have a sense of the story and the emotion, however the end result is still a bit of mystery until the edit is done (below).













Brooke has become mentor and also a friend.  She is so generous still with her time and connection even after the retreat.  As she said at the end, we are now friends for life and if she can help in anyway she will.  Having mentors makes me brave, and we need to be brave as artists so we can be honest and vulnerable and real with our art.  We need to be brave when we put our work out into the world for acceptance. Applying to galleries and publications is daunting and can result in lots of knock backs before we get one connection.  This will be my next test.

"The Sound of Flying Souls" by Brooke Shaden

           I also treated myself to this print from Brooke. I connected so much to this image, literally feeling the release from my chest.     For me this picture represents the rapture of freeing the creativity that has been trapped inside me for so long.


I am so glad that I spent the money to go to this retreat, it was a lot of money for me, and it felt very extravagant to do it, but sometimes we just need to give over to those big opportunities so big learning can happen too. 

Anyway take care and happy creating till next time

Hazel x

At the end of a crazy wonderful day of shooting. (Photo by Brooke)


2. One participant requested that we not show her face only for cultural reasons.

(Hazel Blake Portrait) Australia Australian Retreat Brooke Shaden Creative Workshop Retreat Workshop conceptual fine art conceptual photography fine art https://www.hazelblake.com.au/blog/2016/5/the-brooke-shaden-australian-retreat Tue, 17 May 2016 03:28:58 GMT
Here I Am https://www.hazelblake.com.au/blog/2016/4/here-i-am  


The Star WhispererThe Star WhispererPrint Size 40.6 x 40.6cm

So here it is my new website complete with blog page - eek! What am I going to write about??

In 3 months I have gone from having a job - to getting a website, blog and a dream that I can make it as an artist!

This has been such a beautiful and unexpected turn in my life.  All the stars have definitely lined up.  A bit of money to help me get started, a wonderful husband who believes in me and is working to support us while I make the transition and a beautiful friend Andrea (www.andrealeefisher.com) that has inspired and steered me in the directions I want to go.  Also responsible for this journey has been my teacher and mentor Sebastian Michael, leader of the advanced photo artistry course AWAKE (www.fineartgrunge.com) and the huge amount of artists worldwide in this course who have critiqued, supported and encouraged me to see my talent and set forth to a new frontier.

So here we go - watch this space.... first hugely exciting stop this month is the Brooke Shaden Workshop in Melbourne.  (If you don't know who she is - amazing American Conceptual Artist -  check her out at www.brookeshaden.com.  Stay tuned and I'll show you all the fantastic ways that I'm sure it will influence and inspire my work in the coming months.

Until then travel safe and have fun


(Hazel Blake Portrait) https://www.hazelblake.com.au/blog/2016/4/here-i-am Thu, 07 Apr 2016 13:12:20 GMT