Show Yourself



With the advent of digital photography, images have become ubiquitous. So how does a photographer distinguish himself? How do you make a portrait sing? And where is the line between photography and art?

June 7
Show Yourself

Exhibition Opening
Blake Tucker
Exhibition thru July 20
SF Community Center, 6pm

Starting in 2009, I asked ten models to bring their identities into the studio: to prepare for their shoots by considering what objects, clothing, props and other gear illustrated them and to share with me why these things mattered. As I got to know them, I secretly gathered a parallel set of contrasting or comparative objects. When we met at the studio for the shoot, I revealed my choices and we collaborated to find poses and combinations that both of us wanted to see. The results then inspired me to do more.

In Show Yourself, my models express their inner lives in the photograph and I try to enhance our collaboration in the presentation. This installation is about that line between photography and art—is capturing a portrait the photographer’s only duty? Or is there more he can contribute? How could each of these images be further enhanced?

I’ve always hated how photographs have to be imprisoned behind matte, frame, and glass. Then I realized these portraits didn’t have to be. I could allow my subjects to shine. To be who they really are. I could finally say to my models, “Show yourself.” And I could do the same.

This exhibition is presented by The SF LGBT Community Center, the Queer Cultural Center and McKinley Art Solutions.


Blake Tucker grew up in New England, mostly in the small town of Durham, New Hampshire. At the age of 10 he began making films with his sister, Ashleigh, and it was a sign of things to come. After moving to California to attend Stanford University, Blake made his first connection to the film industry at Lucasfilm. He began working in the Art Department on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1998. Becoming a digital effects technician, an animator, and a digital storyboard artist allowed Blake to continue discovering his eye. After working for Pixar on Finding Nemo for 5 years, Blake decided it was time to strike out on his own, and he began showing his photography. He has since exhibited work in over 50 shows, including the prestigious San Francisco Airport Museum gallery. Blake’s studio is in San Francisco.

Artist Statement

My eye is strongly influenced by cinema. I learned how to improve visual storytelling by using camera composition to direct the eye and by using color to influence emotions. I try to do the same in my photographs. Whether it’s micro or macro, composition is key.

As for my subjects, I like to test my own sense of scale, sometimes by making the smallest detail very large, or by focusing so tightly on something that it becomes its own image and is not immediately recognizable. I often find myself lying on floors, climbing into strange places or putting my camera on the ground and walking away just to see from a different perspective.