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Ohio Life

Laura Watilo Blake on ‘Ohio: A Photographic Journey’

The photographer and Ohio Magazine contributor discusses her new book highlighting the beauty of the Buckeye State. 

Laura Watilo Blake has ridden a camel through the Sahara Desert and hung from the side of a mountain in Switzerland, but her newest adventure is focused a little closer to home. 

The Cleveland-based photographer and filmmaker, whose travel documentary “Tripped Up” premiered in April at the Cleveland International Film Festival, is also the author of the recently released Ohio: A Photographic Journey

The 80-page book features more than 110 photos Watilo Blake captured throughout Ohio. Spanning landscapes and cityscapes, the collection highlights the beauty of urban centers and rural spaces alike, from the bustling cultural hub of our capital city to the quiet serenity of Hocking Hills State Park’s water-carved Rock House cave. 

“Even though it was summer, it was quiet and there was no one around because it was kind of misting and rainy,” Watilo Blake recalls of her visit to the Rock House. “It really is a magical experience when you don’t have all these people passing you on the trail.”

Farcountry Press — a Helena, Montana-based publisher specializing in color photography books showcasing America’s cities, states, national parks and wildlife — approached Watilo Blake about collaborating on an Ohio book. The photographer, a frequent contributor to Great Lakes Publishing (the parent company of Ohio Magazine, Cleveland Magazine and Lake Erie Living), submitted more than 300 images for consideration. Many of the photos were taken during Watilo Blake’s travels throughout the state on assignment, while others were created after she landed the book deal.

“There were areas of Ohio that I hadn’t been to or spent a significant amount of time in,” she says, pointing to Cincinnati as one such example. “It’s amazing because you get there and realize: Wow, there is so much to see and do, and there’s not enough time to do it all.” 

A mother of a 4-year-old, Watilo Blake says fitting all the travel in was a challenge, but she got the best results when she had time to truly soak in the surroundings she was about to capture. 

“The ones where I have taken more time and had more than just a moment to frame the shot, take it and move on,” adds Watilo Blake, “those are the best photos.”

For more information about the book, visit farcountrypress.com. To see more of Laura Watilo Blake’s work, visit farflungtravels.com.

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