Photographer “Rises from the Ashes” - Acclaimed Artist Loses Life’s Work in Fire; Re-creates from Memory and Soul for New Book

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"IMAGES … From the Ashes" to be published, with featured gallery exhibitions in LA, NYC, and Toronto; campaign live now on

Billy Blake has announced the long-awaited release of his photographic collection entitled “IMAGES ... From the Ashes – a photographer’s resolve”. The title plays on Blake’s tragic loss in a 2008 Malibu fire, and his inspirational resolve to rise above it. Blake has initiated a campaign on, and intends to use the raise to offset costs of publishing and producing over-sized prints for several featured gallery exhibitions showcasing works from the book. Galleries in LA, NY, and Toronto have already signed on to showcase month-long featured exhibitions and BOA Gallery in West Hollywood will host the debut.

Blake is 71 and has been a fine art photographer for 50+ years, dating back to his days as “that kid with the camera”. Despite a long resume in publishing (founder of Millimeter magazine) and producing feature films (among them Pumpkinhead, Rhinestone, and Wisegirls), photography was always his greatest passion. His work has been featured in public gallery exhibitions on both coasts, hangs privately on some very impressive walls, and five pieces from his architecturally themed “Studies in Light” series were recently accepted for display at Santa Monica’s prestigious Bergamot Station.

Friends and peers have long urged him to compile a book. In 2008, at age 66, he dedicated the basement of his Malibu Coast home to the task of digitizing old negatives.

A few months later, he awoke to a stark realization. His house was on fire. He woke up Peggy, she grabbed the dog, and as they opened the front door to exit, thick grey smoke billowed inside. They shut their eyes, ran through it, and never came back. On the way out, Blake grabbed a small bag, containing disks comprising his library of digital photographs and the few older ones he had recently digitized.

But alas - nothing else survived, the basement was no more, and the hard drives were melted. That morning, three PCH homes burned to the ground.

His insurance had lapsed, so the loss was also financial. But to Blake, it was only the permanent loss of decades of work that mattered. “It was like losing a part of me,” recalls Blake. “I felt despair, then anger, which thankfully channeled into resolve, and that’s what the book is about.”

IMAGES ... From the Ashes contains the photography of Billy Blake. The 112 page book features "re-creations" of his 10 favorite pre-digital photos that were forever destroyed. With painstaking effort, Blake re-captured their essence, and the book tells the story of each. The 9 x 12, horizontal, hard cover coffee table book will be printed on high quality stock. Its sections (or genres) will include Studies in Light, Reflections, and Abstracts. Each section begins with a different re-creation, along with explanatory text, and other photos consistent with the genre.

Gallery owners in Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto who know his work immediately embraced the opportunity to host a featured exhibition.

"Blake's talent is undeniable”, says Bob Ore, owner of BOA Gallery in West Hollywood, “but I also see this exhibition as testimony to human perseverance."

“The fire showed me there can be a futility to our existence,” opines Blake. “But if we give it a chance, our human spirit can be indomitable in the face of that futility. I hope to inspire others by getting up off the ground, and with this book, bringing it full circle – from devastation to salvation.”

Blake resides in Santa Monica with Peggy and their dog Chance. His kickstarter project is at, and the book’s website is

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Howard Marks

Billy Blake
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