A&E » Arts

New home for photographers

Gallery to promote Whistler’s outdoor sports and showcase local photographic talent



Sea to Sky shutterbugs will soon have a new home to exhibit their work in, thanks to a partnership between local photographer, Blake Jorgenson, and businessman, Joey Gibbons.

Jorgenson feels there is a lack of local photography on display in Whistler and has dreamt of opening his own gallery for years. The idea became a reality when a vacant space at the Westin became available and Jorgenson was connected with Gibbons, who is president of the Gibbons Hospitality Group, the company that manages Longhorn Saloon & Grill, Buffalo Bills, and Tapley’s.

Between Jorgenson’s networks in the ski and bike industry, and Gibbons’s connections in the hospitality industry, a proposal was quickly drawn up —   and before Jorgenson knew it, the Blake Jorgenson Gallery was born.

The new space will feature works by Jorgenson and a rotating wall of guest photographers to help promote Whistler’s outdoor sports. It will also be used to host events for the local sports communities that have proved to be invaluable in building Jorgenson’s own career.

Jorgenson first came to Whistler on a trip with his mother when he was 16 years old.

“I knew right away it was where I wanted to go and less than two years (later) I came out with my backpack and skis, just like every other kid coming to Whistler,” said Jorgenson.

He was immediately inspired to capture the beauty and spirit of the region, and began taking photos daily of friends skiing and biking on the mountains.

A few years later, Jorgenson got his first real break when he made a submission of 20 photos to Powder magazine, and had one published in their gallery section.

Now, 16 years later, the 32-year-old photographer is a senior photographer for Powder and Skier magazines, has contributed to more than 50 international publications and worked for commercial clients like United Airlines, Helly Hansen, Adidas, Oakley and Salomon. And he is the only person to have won the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival’s Pro Photographer Search and the Pro Photographer Showdown in the same year.

His work has also taken him all over the world — from Africa to Nepal, China, Japan, Australia, Chile, Sweden, Turkey, Alaska, all over Europe, and right back to British Columbia.

Jorgenson will soon be on his way back to Whistler from Sweden to help get the new gallery off the ground, and to participate as one of the five finalists in the Pro Photographer Showdown at this year’s TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival.

The official grand opening of the new gallery will be held on Monday, April 14 from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., with an afterparty at the Firerock with DJ Chili.