art and the heart photography workshop

Late one afternoon in a land far far away (Tokyo), sitting with my dear friend Dan O’Day, sipping sake, discussing all things worldly and photography related. It soon become clear that we, two like-minded explorers/photographers had a lot to offer each other and shortly came to the conclusion, a lot to offer others. We discussed how amazing it would be to hold a photography workshop together that would combine the things in life, art and business that we are most passionate about.


dan and samm in japan. shortly before or after discussing all things worldly. june 2011



Many bottles of sake, a couple of months of planning, lots of miles traveled and many late night skype sessions later, “Art and the Heart – A Photography Workshop by Dan O’Day and Samm Blake” is born.

We launched the workshop website a few days ago and we have been overwhelmed with the response we have received so far. Melbourne is almost sold out, and we have a waiting list of people for the New York and London workshops. We are so excited incredibly excited for everything we have planned for these workshops.


You Thought You Knew You : a blog cooperative to inspire, renew, discover and stimulate creativity.


I have also been working on another project with Dan, collaborating together on a blog cooperative, You Thought You Knew You, to inspire, renew, discover and stimulate creativity. The project was introduced while Dan was speaking at the AIPP event “Hair of the Dog” in Brisbane, in February. It seeks to be an inspirational home for all types of creative photographers, so to challenge one another in thinking of new creative patterns and ways of looking at sometimes not-so-creative things.

The blog is to serve as a reminder of the importance of working on personal projects and getting a little “uncomfortable” when exploring creativity & art and exercising “seeing”. It ultimately seeks to bring out the best in us publicly – to an audience of like minded peers and colleagues, family and friends, or even to our clients.

Every week one artist will be selected and given a photography brief (created by YTYKY Creative HQ OR by a creative brief submitted by the public). The artist will be given seven days to complete the brief by providing around 10 images in response to their particular assignment. Each artist will also submit a written post, explaining their experience with the assignment as well as their thoughts on the experience as a whole.

To stimulate as much “uncomfortableness” as possible, the selected artist must shoot in a style or method outside their usual area of expertise. If, for example, the brief is “Blue” and “Grass” and the artist selected is a wedding photographer who shoots with a Canon 5D Mark II, YTYKY does not wish to see images of blue wedding shoes sitting in fields of grass shot on a DSLR. Instead, YTYKY seeks to push the boundaries of whatever “norms” the artist of the week is most comfortable with. Shoot blue garden gnomes with a Polaroid camera. Be as different as possible. Extend the imagination as far as it will go. Steer away from what feels “natural” and discover another side to your creative potential.

My project I have been working on over winter is currently the feature of the week on YTYKY 🙂