B L A K E
A HISTORY OF CREATIVITY & OBSERVATION
Welcome ... James Blake has travelled all around England, Europe, The Balkans, The Mediterranean, North Africa, North & Central America and New Zealand in pursuit of his love of music, art and photography. Previous to music, art and photography, James studied Public Media, Communications & Cultural Studies at Trinity & All Saints College, Leeds University and Fine Art Sculpture at the West Wales School of Art, as well as working as an artist, as a graphic and web designer and as a dj / club promoter. James was educated in England but was very fortunate to have spent his childhood growing up in Malta and Dubai, with visits to South East Asia, Europe and Scandinavia with his parents.
This website contains links to all of James' music mixes (from 1993-2003, 2007-2011 and 2020-2022), art and design books (from 1993-2003) and photography books (from 2005, 2007 & 2012-2019) and (art) history books (from 2019 onwards). Sadly nothing has survived from a year spent in Cornwall (2004), or has survived from a 6,000km journey taken in America (2006) and also nothing for the three years spent in New Zealand (2008-2010). All of the work has been made presentable / re-presentable between 2018 and 2022. The music, art and design, travel, photography and (art) history are all interlinked as 'two halves of the same coin'... a balance of creativity and observation.
James is also a member of WPO and Lightstalkers and his work has featured in The Courier (UK), The Kent Messenger (UK), Kent On Sunday (UK), De Duinstreek (Holland), Mondo In Tasca (Italy), Guida Viaggi (Italy), Globetrotter Magazine (Italy), Cyprus Weekly (Cyprus), Options Newspaper (Cyprus), Sunday Mail (Cyprus) and The Photographer's Mail (New Zealand). James' work has been exhibited in England ("Genius"), Holland ("Unique Abstract Expressionism"), Cyprus ("Extraordinary", "Spectacular", "Stunning", "Amazing", "Beautiful") and New Zealand ("Fantastic").
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ( A R T ) H I S T O R Y - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions,
set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”
J A M E S
"It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, and a race; it is it's past, and cannot be understood without it." Will & Ariel Durant
"The End Of Eternity"
B O O K S
After The Fact & After The Fiction : On The Origins Of Religion & On The Origins Of Atheism
The Act Of Killing Arab Spring La Haine Baltic Way Banksy They Live Come And See The Killing Fields Soviet-Afghan War Iranian Revolution Alain De Botton Dr Han Prague Spring Jimmy Nelson Cultural Revolution Simon Sebag Montefiore Asterix Adam Curtis Hungarian Revolution Béla Tarr Ron Fricke A. N. Wilson National Committee For A Free Europe Christopher Hitchens The Cold War Alan Parker Roger Waters Captain America Richard Dawkins Jacques Rancière John Lennon Bruce Chatwin Melvyn Bragg Lee Harvey Oswald World War II Superman Mengistu Haile Mariam Degenerate Art Exhibtion Vaclav Havel The Spanish Civil War James Brown Merlin Stone Martin Luther King Jnr Andy Warhol Kenneth Snelson Pol Pot Sabine Weiss Erich Lessing Henry Kissinger The Jazz Age Bavarian Soviet Republic Nicolae Ceaușescu The Russian Revolution John F. Kennedy Gil Elvgren Jean Harlow Norman Lewis Max Ernst Salvador Allende Henri Cartier-Bresson Kenneth Clark George Orwell Jose Antonio Georg Elser Aedh Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven Ernesto Caballero László Moholy-Nagy Aldous Huxley Ben Nicholson Francisco Franco Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Society For Psychical Research El Lissitzky R. G. Collingwood Will & Ariel Durant Hendrik Willem Van Loon Pablo Picasso Kazimir Malevich Joseph Stalin Herman Hesse Carl Jung Vladimir Lenin Henri Matisse Metropolitan Museum Of Art Wassily Kandinksy William Butler Yeats Sigmund Freud Revolutions Of 1848 Friedrich Nietzsche Gustave Le Bon Claude Monet Camille Pissarro Alexandre Cabanel Alfred Wallace Friedrich Engels Gustave Courbet Karl Marx Jean-Francois Millet Charles Darwin Pierre Hebert Jules Michelet The Louvre The French Revolution Joseph Grimaldi John Constable American Revolutionary War Napoleon Bonaparte Maximilien Robespierre William Blake The British Museum Encyclopédie Jacques-Louis David Universal History Edward Gibbon Thomas Paine Joseph Priestley Erasmus Darwin Edmund Burke Immanuel Kant Hellfire Club William Hogarth Francois-Marie Voltaire Salem Witch Trials Bill Of Rights The Glorious Revolution Jonathan Swift Great Fire Of London Queen Anne Of England Stuart Restoration Francesco Trevisani Isaac Newton The English Civil War Ussher-Lightfoot Chronology Evert Collier Johannes Vermeer John Locke Huguenot Rebellions The Thirty Year's War Harmen Steenwijck John Milton Bartolomé Esteban Murillo Alonso Cano Guido Cagnacci Diego Valesquez Oliver Cromwell Rene Descartes Warsaw Confederation St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre Michelangelo da Caravaggio Guy Fawkes Eighty Years' War James I Of England William Shakespeare Francis Bacon Peter Paul Rubens Giordano Bruno Merindol Massacre Pilgrimage Of Grace Queen Elizabeth I Of England Supreme Head Of The Church Of England John Dee Witchcraft Atlantic Slave Trade Roman Charity Pierre Viret Johann Faust Thomas More Hans Holbien The Younger Reconquista King Henry VIII Of England Martin Luther Michelangelo Simoni Desiderius Erasmus Sandro Botticelli Henry VII of England The War Of The Roses Christopher Columbus Johannes Gutenberg Lollardy Western Schism Jan Hus Antipope John XIII Wat Tyler Avignon Papacy Francesco Petrarca Dante Alighieri Jacques De Molay The Holy Inquistion Lateran IV Catharism Francis Of Assisi Notre-Dame De Paris Bohemia The Crusades Hildegard Of Bingen Peter Abelard Hugues De Payens Bernard Of Clairveaux Pope Urban II Charlemagne Anicius Boethius Dionysius Exiguus The Byzantine Empire Constantine The Great Marcus Cicero The Flavian Dynasty Jesus The Virgin Mary Cleopatra VII Qin Shi Huang Herodotus Plato Socrates Confucius Gautama Buddha Song Of Songs Right Hand Of God Hand Of God Moses Code Of Hammurabi Abraham Nut Horus Isis Cuneiform Vinca Culture Tumulus Menhirs Shells Red Ochre Homo Sapiens Homo Neanderthalensis Homo Heidelbergensis Homo Erectus Mammals Birds Reptiles Amphibians Fish Fossil Life The Earth The Moon The Sun The Milky Way Galaxy Iron Oxygen Carbon Hydrogen Matter The Big Bang
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - P H O T O G R A P H Y - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
In 2012 James moved to Cyprus and spent the next three years photographing the island, both north and south, that resulted in self publishing three books and presenting two exhibitions, one in the capital Nicosia and the other in the town of Paphos, where James was based, all of which was very well received in the media there. Between 2015 and 2018 James spent the majority of his time in back in England, and also in France and Spain, with visits to Wales, Holland, Belgium, Andorra, Portugal and Bulgaria and as well as doing books on England, France and Spain James also focused his camera on figurative sculpture, everyday people, figurative street art and stained glass windows. Whilst in Spain and focusing on figurative sculpture James made an accidental observation in Tarragona Cathedral which lead to a change of direction from observational photography to photographic art history / history (see above).
Once upon a time we had a holiday home in the mountains: ringing church bells punctuated the hours, goats pushed and paraded down the narrow streets, the smell of zivania from the still enough to make you feel quite tipsy. This, to me, was the true Cyprus, an island where black-clad grandmothers crocheted under the lemon trees while their husbands drank sketo in the sun. And until recently, it was a way of life that I thought had been lost. But I’ve been proven wrong: the true Cyprus still exists, if you know where and how to look – and it’s all been captured on film in a new exhibition entitled Impressions of a Mediterranean Island. James Blake is the photographer, and though he hasn’t been long on the island, his love for every facet of the landscape, the architecture and – most importantly – the people shines out of every one of his 140 images. “Cyprus is a beautiful and fascinating island for any visitor, with an incredible history dating back 9,000 years,” says this world-traveller, a man who has lived and worked in all four corners of the globe, but his favourite place to photograph, he professes, is definitely Cyprus. “I love history, and there’s so much of it here,” he says. “Greek, Roman, Persian. Crusader castles and Byzantine churches, Gothic cathedrals and Venetian cities. There’s always somewhere to go and something to see on this island. It’s like a history book.”
But despite his love of his newfound surroundings, he admits that it’s the actual inhabitants of the island who really inspire his work: “The Cypriot people are fascinating and so friendly,” he says warmly. “It makes it easier to approach them, not only to photograph them but also to chat to them and learn about their lives. They have so much character,” he adds. “You could take a picture of a landscape, a building, and it would probably be the same in 200 years, but the people are truly unique in the moment.”
Having studied art and sculpture, graphic and web design, James clearly has a strong creative bent which he believes helps in his work: “I think I have an informed eye for something that might become a picture,” he muses. “Most of my work is pretty spontaneous, I don’t tend to sit around for hours trying to get each shot absolutely right. I just walk down the street and think ‘that looks good!’. Not only has James worked all over the world, he’s also published three books of his photography. The first, On the Road was “a starting point,” he says, “photographs from the places I’d been, South Africa, Morocco, the Americas.” While the second focused more on the locals of the various countries, it’s the third of his publications that’s particularly relevant to Cyprus.
The book shares its name and subject with his latest exhibition, Impressions of a Mediterranean Island, and in it one feels he has captured the true Cyprus: “It’s the whole island,” he says. “And though a lot of it is the people, there’s everything from landscapes to lizards and monasteries to mosaics.”
And perhaps a fresh perspective is what we jaded residents really need to rekindle our love for the country, a fresh eye to see what we’re all missing: “The exhibition is a reflection, I think, of how much I love Cyprus,” James concludes. “There’s no pretension to it, I’m not trying to be a great artist. It’s just about sharing what I’ve seen of this wonderful island and its people.” And with Impressions Of A Mediterranean Island - the exhibition and the book of the same name - James seems to have captured the real Cyprus.
B O O K S