I was born in northern California, but spent most of my life in western North Dakota. Photography became my passion in 1981, when I took a basic photography course as part of a Graphic Arts major. In my twenties, I bought a Nikon 35mm film camera and began to explore the scenic areas of North Dakota and Montana. Prior to raising my family, I worked for a photo studio for several years.
Then I took on the rewarding but demanding jobs of fatherhood and managing the family print shop, and I let my Nikon gather dust for 15 years. It seemed my soul gradually began gathering dust as well. But like many of us, I failed to notice, for the process was subtle.
At first—by staying “busy, busy, busy” repairing the office computers, printing equipment, and our neighbors’ broken pipes—I could drown out the occasional “gut feeling” that nothing I was doing at work was making me happy. Those closest to me, aware that I once enjoyed playing the piano and was passionate about outdoor photography, would ask me if I’d ever take time for myself to do those things again. I would answer with a regretful smile: “Maybe when I retire...”
Then, in 2005, I received a wake-up call. My health, which I’d taken for granted, suddenly deteriorated. For I while, I feared I’d be unable to do my work—the work I’d allowed to define my life for the past 15 years.
I had made the all-too-common mistake of identifying myself by my roles as shop manager, husband, and father—because I was ignorant of who Jerry Blank really is.
My healing process, therefore, included a crash course on the facts of Life...
I earn my living by fixing things, but I’m not my job description.
I’m a living person, but I’m not my body.
I have a body and a brain, in used but good condition.
My understanding of Life continues to grow and evolve, and I now take for granted that my inner spirit is the only thing about me that is timeless. It’s the one thing I can’t see in a mirror, yet it’s the most important part of Life to nurture.
The more I share of Life, simply for the love of sharing, the more it grows and flourishes.
...So, as the winter of 2006 approached its end, I blew the dust of my old camera, sold it to a fellow photographer, and bought my first digital camera.
By lucky coincidence, the capabilities of digital media were beginning to expand everyone’s imagination in a way film couldn’t—just as the Internet has made it possible for everyone to share what they imagine, in ways undreamt-of until this century!
When spring finally arrived in North Dakota (mid-June, for those of you not familiar with the Great White North), I began exploring the back roads of the Little Missouri National Grasslands every weekend. After 15 years, I was once again capturing images of the beauty of our land...and it’s my pleasure to share them with you on these pages.
With each day, I learn a little bit more of who I really am. I see a bit of myself in all the people I meet daily. We’re all in the process of learning—this much we have in common. As long as we’re breathing, we’re learning!
I get a bit of humility when I remember that. Most of us have definite ideas of how to fix the world when we’re young. I sure did, anyway. Eventually, we all learn what Smokey the Bear and Mohandas Gandhi knew about “fixing” the world: “Only you can prevent forest fires.” “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Currently, my base of operations is central Florida, where the majority of my family lives. For fun, I travel to scenic places as often as I can, to discover and to share the beauty of this great country of ours.
All the images on this site are available for stock image usage. To obtain details and pricing, please click / tap here.
For information on fine art wall prints, please click / tap here.