Living a photographic addiction

Billy Blake's photography will be shown in Venice beginning Saturday at Lucas Da Silva's Universal Art Gallery.

A photoholic displays his work.

By Patrick William Salvo/Special to The Malibu Times

Malibu resident Billy Blake admits that he is a film junkie, a magazine addict as well as a photoholic.

Blake was born into the arts-both his father and grandfather were film producers and directors and worked with Harry Cohn at Columbia Pictures.

Billy Blake’s camera became his Superman costume and he took pictures of everything, from every angle. He was fascinated by the unique and transient nature of light and he would make plans to take pictures “when the light was right.” Blake went to NYU studying film, art and photography. It was in those years that photography became an addiction. Blake was hooked on the impressionists like Monet, Seurat and Van Gogh and their personal vision of a scene. “For me it was never ‘capturing’ an image, that was a snapshot, it was interpreting what you saw and being able to visually transmit those feelings to your audience,” Blake said.

Taking a hiatus from the magazine publishing business (he founded and co-published Millimeter Magazine), in the late ’70s he decided to devote himself fulltime to photography. He rented a loft in Tribeca, where Robert DeNiro had the penthouse and actor Harvey Keitel had the 3rd floor, and it was a period of intense artistic growth. Over the next 18 months, Blake gave three one-man shows, two in Manhattan and one on Long Island. They were tremendous artistic and financial successes.

During this same time, Blake forayed into his father’s former business, producing films, working on such movies as “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.” In 1987, Blake produced the cult horror film “Pumpkinhead” with four-time Academy Award-winner Stan Winston.

In 1995, Blake fulfilled his lifetime dream of living in California. His passion for photography was rekindled and took the form of color and, eventually, digital. Blake’s new work has embraced color with a painter’s palette and design with an architect’s eye. Blake prints and signs all his work in very limited editions.

Blake is currently producing films and is still clicking feverishly on a daily basis. His current photographic exhibition, PHOTOHOLIC, his first in more than 25 years, is running at Lucas Da Silva’s Universal Art Gallery, 2001 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, Sept. 18 (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) -Nov. 14. More information can be obtained by calling 310.302.8909.