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Storytelling: Matthew Blake, Matthew Blake Photography

“I moved around a lot as a kid. I lived in Washington State, Texas, Florida, and most recently Racine. I moved out to Lake Geneva about nine years ago to be closer to my brother. He was schizophrenic and, unfortunately, passed away. I got to be with him for about a year before he died and I grew to love the area. I decided I wanted to call Lake Geneva ‘home’.

I wish there were more places in the community to interact in a diverse, sober place. I grew up in the inner-city and there were community centers that I wish we had more of here. I understand it's a small town, but there should be places to bring people together. When my brother was alive, we really enjoyed the hunt of thrifting in the area; it's something we would do together a lot. I think it's very tough meeting people locally because, if you're a non-drinker, there aren’t many places to go where I can interact with other people my age.

I've lived in the same neighborhood just outside the downtown Lake Geneva area for nine years. Watching neighbors be pushed out and their houses turned into Airbnbs, it’s quite concerning. It's tough because this is home base for me and housing prices are rapidly increasing. It's my dream to do photography here. I love this town. What would I do if one day my landlord said to me, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m going to sell this place’? Where am I going to go? It's really hard to find an affordable place to live in Lake Geneva. This is constantly on my mind. I want to give everything 100% and I find it hard to give it the whole 100% when I know it might not last forever.

This is the first year of my life I've been able to relax. I’ve lost a lot of people who are close to me. Multiple cousins, my brother, two uncles, and many friends. But I know I have to keep going. That's why I have dedicated my life to photography. I want to use my work to give back to the community that’s given me a place to call home. I’m so thankful to be here to make others happy through my art.

I'm self taught in my photography. I really enjoy the lake and shore path because it always has a new angle, new lighting, and new inspiration. As soon as I put the drone in the air, it gave me a whole different perspective. It felt like now we can look at everything from all these different diverse angles other people haven't seen. It's like I can fly - like I have a superpower.

I got to meet some other local artists I've been looking up to and had always wanted to meet. It was completely accidently just last week and it was so cool to sit down with them and hear their stories, their perspectives on art. I would love to see more of that...this creative community built to meet together and exchange ideas.” - Matthew Blake, Matthew Blake Photography

View some of Matthew’s favorite photos:

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