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With Glowing Hearts a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Photographer Blake Jorgenson contributes vision, talent and time to official VANOC book



The ski and snowboard world knows Blake Jorgenson as one of the best action shooters in the industry, capturing the pros as they throw down some of their biggest tricks in B.C.'s scenic backcountry.

At his Whistler gallery, Jorgenson has taken typical "ski porn" to the next artistic level, sandwiching jaw-dropping action shots between beautiful panoramas and portraiture.

But the 15-year Whistlerite has recently been tasked with a new challenge: he's one of the photographers contributing to a book that's meant to capture the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The project, entitled With Glowing Hearts/Des plus brilliants exploits: The Official Commemorative Book of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games, is the third and final licensed book being published by John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd. for VANOC. The only official book from the 2010 Games, it's meant to commemorate the spirit, passion and beauty through hundreds of pages of original photography, including images of athletes, opening, closing and victory ceremonies and, of course, shots of the people and places behind the events.

The experience has proven to be heart-warming and inspiring for the seasoned photographer.

"I think it's been super positive for everybody," Jorgenson said. "I think Canadians are probably kind of passive when it comes to cheering and rooting on sports and nationalism and stuff like it, so it was kind of cool to see Canada break out of its shell!"

Having traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, Jorgenson points out that fans in those countries are far more vocal and enthusiastic in support of their athletes. So, he was proud to see the Canadian flags out in full-force during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

On Monday, Jorgenson had just wrapped up a shoot at the men's and women's standing slalom events.

"It was cool! I think everything's really the same at these Olympics except for the para part," he said. "...That's the first thing I noticed is sort of the difference, all the athletes and their para-setups and stuff like that is all super unique, it's all custom-made."

The Olympic book project came to his attention after VANOC's late creative director, Leo Obstbaum, walked into Jorgenson's Whistler gallery and asked him if he'd be interested in shooting for it.

"I originally put together a proposal when they originally contacted me of how I think I should shoot the Olympics," Jorgenson said. "And I kind of just went from there."

It seemed like a good chance to challenge his abilities, and be part of the Games at the same time.