Blake Burton (b. 1984) is an architect and photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. His training as an architect proved to be highly influential to his photography in the form of appreciating space, composition, and quality of light. Burton’s ongoing project, Ponce City Market, offers rare, behind-the-scenes views of one of the largest adaptive reuse projects in the United States. Spanning nearly five years, the project has been featured online and in print, and in late 2013, he held his first solo exhibit featuring a selection of photos inside the building itself. Burton studied Business Administration in Birmingham-Southern College (2006), and majored in Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology (2009). He is a recipient of several awards, including: Viewer’s Choice finalist for National Geographic’s World In Focus (2010), 2nd prize for the Perfect Portrait contest of Digital Photo Magazine (2011), Best Photos of 2012 for Travel+Leisure, 1st prize winner for Minube’s Finding Paradise contest, and finalist in Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50. He was recently interviewed in WABE Atlanta’s National Public Radio (NPR). His photographs have been featured in a number of online publications such as: Urbanautica (2012), Curbed Atlanta (2012), Hearth Magazine (2013), Get Addicted To (2014), and ArchDaily (2015). In print, his pictures have appeared in Trouve Magazine (New Adventures In An Ancient Land, 2014) and Planning Magazine (Emerald Necklace, Southern Style, 2014). Check out his photographs at www.blakeburtonphotography.com.
DOMINIQUE JAMES: How did you get started in photography?
BLAKE BURTON: I started by taking classes in high school and college in order to learn the basics about exposure, composition, and darkroom techniques. It has since developed into a hobby where I wanted to explore as many things as possible.
DJ: What kind of pictures do you like to take?
BB: I’m always on the lookout for interesting compositions. Most of my recent personal work has focused on architectural space, however, I love to travel so I really enjoy the opportunity to capture landscapes and portraits.
DJ: What’s your favorite camera and lens?
BB: Depends on what I am shooting, which most of the time I'll use Nikon DSLRs. I love using my old Rolleiflex TLR; everything about it is fantastic! My current favorite lens is the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art.
DJ: Any other particular piece of photo gear that you feel is essential or like using?
BB: A fast lens!
DJ: How you edit and enhance your pictures before showing them? What is your post-production process like?
BB: I try to keep the post-processing to a minimum, and it usually involves color correction and levels adjustment. It also depends on the subject matter. For my Ponce City Market project, most colors are muted. For my travel work, it is the opposite.
DJ: How do you share your pictures and to whom?
DJ: How do you store or archive your pictures?
BB: Multiple hard drives in multiple locations.
DJ: What is that one all-important lesson you’ve learned when it comes to photography?
BB: I want to work on projects that are interesting to me, and I believe that if I keep following my passion, then I'll stay happy doing it.
Notes: All photographs on this page, used with permission, by Blake Burton. Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved. For the complete set of interviews and photographs of all the amazing photographers featured on this blog’s exclusive Q&A, please click here.