Mike Blake

Mike Blake

Based
San Diego, United States
Born
Vancouver, Canada
Status
Photographer
Camera
Canon 1DX, 5D Mark II
“I think there is something magical about a still picture. It freezes a moment in time that will never happen again.”

Beat

I typically cover sports, general news, entertainment and features. The only place you won’t see me is off covering a war.

One Shot

. PHOENIX, United States. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain stands next to vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin during his election night rally in Phoenix.
“You’re only as good as the last picture you take, so I can’t say I have a single favourite image. I like this one though because it captures a moment and tells a whole story just from two people standing next to one another.”

Profile

My first memory of photography was a little 110 camera I got as a kid. The film was loaded in a small cartridge and you could move through to the next frame with your thumb by pumping a little slide bar back and forth. I can still remember the feeling I got when the slider bar would stop, meaning it was out of film. You never forget the times you run out of film.

Photography was more of a science when I started out: we processed film and printed colour and black and white. In many ways it was far more highly skilled than it is now.

I went to art school but dropped out when they insisted on teaching me how to paint and draw. I knew right out of high school that I wanted to record the world around me with a camera.

My biggest break was meeting a guy in a hotel hallway with a broken leg encased in a cast. His name was Nick Didlick and he was a wire service photographer. He gave me my first big opportunity and from that point on I met and worked with some of the most amazing and talented photographers in the world.

All sorts of assignments have left their mark on me: I was in Valdez, Alaska covering the Exxon Valdez after it poured millions of gallons of oil into a pristine ecosystem. I’ve shaken the hand of the pope in northern Canada, bolted from the deck of an aircraft carrier, covered dozens of Olympics, Oscars, elections and professional sports championships. I get to step in and out of people’s lives every day, and take pictures.

Getting excited is never a good idea as a photographer. If you want to be a good photographer you have to stay focused on what you’re doing.

My biggest lesson in life was my dad telling me that if you’re going to do something you may as well do it to the best of your abilities or it’s not worth doing at all. What you put into something is in direct relation to what you get out of it. Also, my son’s scout troop leader told me on a hike: “Time is the currency of your life.” He was spot on with that! Oh and I like this phrase of Carl Jung: “The meaning of life is to find meaning in your life”, a great thought of his.

I respect parents who raise good kids. Most of us are not going to invent cold nuclear fusion or cure cancer, but we can all leave our mark on the world by being good mums and dads and raising good children.

I think there is something magical about a still picture. It freezes a moment in time that will never happen again. It records history, but in a reflective way that video does not. It allows the viewer to take a breath and reflect.