Blake Armstrong

Armstrong Photography NZ

Blake is using his passion for telling stories through photography to overcome severe mental difficulties.

The 19-year-old, from Dunedin, is a young queer advocate and entrepreneur who woke up one morning with acute memory loss brought on by extreme stress.

The amnesia left Blake struggling to recognise faces, remember names or recall events; he started taking photos to help prompt his memory.

He became involved with The Prince’s Trust He Kākano pilot as one of six young people funded as part of the seed fund’s inaugural programme in May this year. 

Some of the $10,000 he was granted from He Kākano was used to upgrade his camera, editing software and some other photographic equipment he needed to expand his business. 

“There are zero downsides to entering He Kākano or the Enterprise Workshops. They allow you to reconnect and redefine your work ventures, and give you a boost to reach new communities and meet new goals.” 

He recently quit his job at a local supermarket and is now working full-time taking photos at a wide range of sporting, cultural and community events around Otago.

Blake is very aware of his stress levels and says working solely in his own business gives him control and order in his mental space which is vital for his memory.

“The networking and new skills I learnt through applying for He Kākano have had a bigger impact on the way I hold myself in my market than anything else in the 4 years I’ve been operating.”