Madeleine Graham Blake, a native of Klamath Falls, Oregon,
studied photography as a fine art medium at San Francisco State
College (now California State University, San Francisco) in the late
60′s with Don Worth and Jack Welpott. Jerry Uelsmann, Imogen
Cunningham, and Judy Dater were frequently found hanging around
the photolab – plus some grad students who became their own
power houses in the world of photography. It was serendipity that
she landed there, as she thought she wanted to be a nurse (an interest
that lasted one semester, although she did minor in biology.)
After 20 years of fieldwork, notably a 4 year stint midst the wilds of
the Mexican-American Boundary in the early 90’s, working with her husband, Tupper Ansel Blake on his book and traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Two Eagles/Dos Aguilas, she was privileged to share her knowledge of photography, teaching film-based photography at Dominican University of California in San Rafael, California.
Documenting six ranching families with ties to the Great Basin (2005-2009), as well as an earlier photographic essay on working landscapes of mid California for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (2003), facilitated an immersive study of traditional Western America. These projects led to the making of three short videos for the Western Folklife Center’s Deep West Project.
Her photographs of ranching families began as a magazine assignment for Western Horseman Magazine, and required digital files and color images.. Thus began a shift from working primarily in B&W. In 2012 she reverted, and began making platinum/palladium prints, a technique that enables a particularly rich range of tonality and inspired a more enigmatic imagery. (These can be seen in the FINE ARTS GALLERY.)
Published books include Balancing Water: Restoring the Klamath Basin, (with Tupper Ansel Blake and William Kittredge, University of California Berkley Press, 2000), Mandeville Island: A Fine Balance (with Tupper Ansel Blake and William Kittredge, Tuscany Research Institute, 2005) and The Family Ranch: Land, Children and Tradition in the American West (with Linda Hussa, University of Nevada Press, 2009). With Tupper Ansel Blake, she produced limited edition fine art portfolios for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Conserving California Landscapes Initiative and for Tuscany Research Institute. Her images have been shown in numerous publications, including Ranch and Riata Magazine, Western Horseman, Oceans Magazine, Orion, Mademoiselle Magazine, Darkroom Magazine, and PhotoMetro Magazine and have been exhibited throughout the West.
Her video’s are: Work is Play; Play is Work (with Linda Hussa), Rodear at Crooked Creek, and It’s Time for Dandelion Wine. The last two are on youtube.