Arts for Youth Spotlight: Blake Patrick
College Student Gives Back at Christmas
By Leslie Grace / A! Magazine for the Arts | November 27, 2012Blake Patrick and his fellow photography students at King College are giving many in the community a special gift this holiday season – family portraits.
"On Dec. 1 in the Bristol Public Library, we will photograph families from around the area who otherwise likely wouldn't have this service," he says. "We provide a full 15-20 minute photo session for all the families, including family and individual photographs. By the time the families leave, they walk away with a framed family photograph and coupons/discount vouchers from local businesses. After the event we mail the families a CD of all the images that they can have printed. All of this is completely free of charge to all who participate."
The event is called Help Portrait and is part of a global initiative started by celebrity photographer, Jeremy Cowart. Through 2011, more than 15,000 photographers have provided more than 150,000 free portraits. This is the third year that the King photography department has hosted the event and Patrick's second year organizing it. The first year, they provided portraits to 67 families; last year the number grew to 177.
"This is one of those rare opportunities where we, as photography students, are able to use our talents and gifts to give back to people who otherwise would not have this opportunity," said Patrick. "It brings a great sense of community not only for us but also for the participants. While we are increasing our skills through this student-led event, we receive the most benefit from the smiles on the faces of those we are helping."
Patrick says he got involved with photography because "I've always had a camera around. Sadly, the older I get, the more expensive they become. My junior year at King, they finally introduced the photography program and at that point I knew that's exactly what I wanted to do with my life. So, since then I've been full-fledged into photography and haven't thought any differently of it since."
Patrick's goal is to become a photojournalist. He says that field interests him the most because, "photojournalism displays the element of truth that is often lost in the media and in our everyday lives. Because of that I enjoy this aspect of photography more than others and also for its relevance in telling the stories around the world and in our own backyards that are often overlooked or denied."
He says that photography gives him the opportunity to create his art and to express himself. "I have the chance to capture what is and what I want to be. From shooting the everyday to working in the studio, I'm able to always do something I love."
Patrick's work has been displayed during Art D'Vine walks in downtown Bristol and Bristol Motor Speedway has used his images of races. He shoots each race and the accompanying activities as part of the photography department's arrangement with BMS.
He is president of the Photo Club at King and says that's about all he has time for because of his busy college schedule. He tries to remain active, so he says he's always trying to do something outdoors or playing racquetball.
Patrick is from Johnson City, Tenn., and is the son of Tina Patrick.
"Brooklyn Bridge Nightlife" by Blake Patrick
"Kenyan Woman at Local Market" by Blake Patrick
Mikensie Neely by Black Patrick