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“What Did Auntie Do In The War?”

With the interest in Alan Turing and actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s brilliant portrayal of the much maligned mathematician in the 2014 film “The Imitation Game,” thoughts of my Auntie come to mind. At the age of 20, my Auntie was fluent in French and decided to volunteer to become a Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.) – Churchill’s secret army, which later morphed into MI-6 – British Secret Intelligence Service, which supplies the British government with foreign intelligence.


She was assigned to be a liaison officer for the French Resistance. Her file is closed until 2020, however, I can review her file in the presence of a Minister of Defense officer in the British Military at the British Archives in London. What was the difference between the Bletchley Circle crowd, of which Turing was a member of those trying to crack the Enigma code, and the S.O.E.? It was that the S.O.E. employed a rag tag group, including known homosexuals, con men and con women, Communists, anti-Colonialists, double and triple agents and even an officer who could not stop cross dressing! Whereas at Bletchley, Turing had to keep his homosexuality under wraps, because it was illegal at the time. I can’t imagine what my Auntie was doing among the S.O.E. crowd – except to serve her country at all costs. Churchill supposedly said, “Whatever or Whoever will help us win the War!”  Ian Fleming, who was in Naval Intelligence, put James Bond in the more adventurous S.O.E.

I hope one day soon to uncover exactly what my Auntie did in the war. My mind reels with the possibilities of how she used her talents to carry out her role therein. Did she meet Ian Fleming, per chance? Did she ever run across Alan Turing? What did she do?

One thing I do know is that she went on to have an illustrious career in the international diplomatic corps.

Here’s to you, Auntie! I wish I had known you better!

February 8, 2015   No Comments

Blackstone Edge Studios Launches “Ardoyne” Music Video Online


We’ve navigated the waters of ASCAP, US Copyright, VEVO, and our trusty YouTube to bring you “Ardoyne” online – the music video we produced with lyrics by Philip Clayton-Thompson of Blackstone Edge Band, music by @DanielBuhr, Music Producer Tim Ellis of Kung Fu Bakery Recording Studios, editing by Donna Pizzi with animator Marshal Serna, BSE’s Tech Director, and over 30 other musicians, engineers, from Stockholm, Dublin, Portland and LA.

October 7, 2014   No Comments

Blackstone Edge Studios Welcomes New Client – Ann Sacks Tile

Blackstone Edge Studios shoots ASC Modern Tile for Ann Sacks Tile

The work that Blackstone Edge Studios shot and styled for new client Ann Sacks Tile has been under wraps until now. The ASC Modern tile is an exciting new addition to their line, because it is made right here in Portland, Oregon.  This color wave is called “Root Beer,” and would be a beautiful addition to any bathroom.

BSE shoots Lucian Metallics Tile for Ann Sacks Tile

Shooting any reflective surface – especially glass – is a tricky proposition, but the folks at Ann Sacks Tile were very pleased with the image we created at Blackstone Edge Studios of their Lucian Metallics tile. What an absolute beaut it is!

February 12, 2013   1 Comment

Philip Clayton-Thompson of Blackstone Edge Studios Keynote Speaker

Philip Clayton-Thompson gives 2012 Keynote Address @ Portland Art Institute

I had the honor of being asked to give the Keynote Address at Friday’s 2012 Summer graduation ceremonies for the Art Institute of Portland, held at the Governor Hotel.  I have, as co-owner of Blackstone Edge Studios, had a near decade-long relationship with AI.  The thrust of my speech was the need for lots of “Energy” to pursue a career in the creative arts.  I quoted the great British actor, Sir Lawrence Olivier, who when asked by the BBC interviewer, “What was the most important element of becoming a good actor? Was it learning lines, understanding the character, working with playwrights? Directors? Colleagues? ”  answered simply, “Oh, no, dear boy! Just Energy, Energy, Energy… Otherwise you might as well go home and watch the telly!”

Philip Clayton-Thompson joins Art Institute President Moscato on the stage at the Governor Hotel

If you’d like to read the entire speech, click HERE!

Art Institute Dean Kelly congratulates PCT on his speech

Congratulations again to all the talented graduates, professors, deans – including Dean Jason Clary – and President Moscato and Dean Kelly. Thank you for having me!

September 17, 2012   No Comments

Blackstone Edge Studios Creates Truck Wrap for Southland Windows

Southland Windows Truck Wrap by Blackstone Edge Studios

Blackstone Edge Studios has created a number of truck wraps for our client Southland Windows, Inc. located in Santa Ana, California. Designed especially for that bumper-to-bumper traffic is this handy little van!

Great design for bumper-to-bumper freeway driving by BSE Studios

Our clients at Southland Windows, Inc. reports that this truck wrap has brought plenty of kudos and calls.

BSE Truck Wrap Design tooling the Cali Freeways!

August 27, 2012   No Comments

“The Lost Gateways” by Margaret Fitzgerald is now available on Ebooks

"The Lost Gateways" by Margaret Fitzgerald available on Kindle through

As the editor of the late Margaret Fitzgerald’s novel “The Lost Gateways: Discovered Ancient “I AM” Principles,” I am proud to announce that after months and months of negotiating with her publisher Trafford Publishing – and navigating a nightmare of dead ends, failed promises, and an amazing lack of follow-through by its support staff, the book is FINALLY available on Kindle via for $9.95.

There are also a bizarre number of Margaret’s books available via the internet for astronomical fees that defy explanation…  29 Euros boasts one on EBay, $147 says Alibris when shipped from NY, $53 when shipped from Florida… And even Facebook has a page for the book on Kindle.

Perhaps the latter are some indication of the value of the book that while editing it, I found to be extraordinarily enlightening each time I read through it. These kernels of information seemed to pop up like jewels beaming in the sunlight after layers of “programming” were stripped away from one’s consciousness.

For those of you who did not know Margaret or  her multiple talents, let me say that she was a woman with a mission to help heal the individuals who populate our threatened planet through a journey around a wheel of  “I AM” principles. Her mission was cut far too short by a terminal illness that kept her from completing her ambitions, and projects.

Thank you, Margaret, for the lessons you gave us!

April 21, 2012   No Comments

Blackstone Edge Studios Captures GHID Team @ Work

Garrison Hullinger Interior Design team in their newly expanded design HQ

Blackstone Edge Studios has been the agency of record for Garrison Hullinger Interior Design (GHID) for a number of years. This past year Garrison and his talented team – Nicole Copko, Alison Van Delden and Lisa Luchaco – have gone stratospheric.  As a unique marketing approach, I suggested that we illustrate the process of creating great interior design – and in this case – pulling together additional elements for local and national magazine shoots scheduled later that same week as a way to further promote the company. What better way to catch the busy team @ work, I said, than to follow the group with three of  Blackstone Edge Studios’ best shooters…

BSE Shooters - Justin Myers, owner Philip Clayton-Thompson & Marshal Serna @ GHID - Cell Shooter - Donna Pizzi

When we began photographing homes for magazines years ago, the magazines were really the prime way for interior designers to bring credence to their work and clients to their doorstep. Today, the tables have changed. Now it’s social media that often drives the editors of magazine. While both of these entities usually focus solely on room decor, we @ BSE think it’s the people who drive the creativity and wanted to show them in action.

Lisa, Nicole & Alison put together a presentation in the new GHID conference room ©

Owner Garrison Hullinger at Kravet Fabrics ©

Nicole Copko also writes the GHID blog ©

We’re always searching for unique ways to create business opportunities for our clients.  One way is encourage them to create blogs on their websites, or as standalone social media outlets.

The GHID Team exiting Ferguson's ©

A day after we took these photos, we began a 2-day shoot at an elegant beach house, featuring Garrison Hullinger’s interior design. Watch for more on that exciting event right here.

January 31, 2012   No Comments

Happy New Year From Her Majesty

All images © - Royal Horse Artillery taken on June 2, 1972 in honor of Her Majesty's Birthday

Today I received a letter from Her Majesty The Queen! 

She was replying to a parcel I sent – a gift of the poster seen above. What a Happy New Year’s gift her letter was…

As our blog readers know from a previous post, I created a video of “I Vow To Thee My Country,” with music by Gustav Holst, a hymn which is in the running to become the English National Anthem. I illustrated the song with photographs I took 40 years ago of the Royal Horse Artillery on Her Majesty’s Birthday. The accompaniment on the video is by Maestro Rodney Menn. We completed the effort at Blackstone Edge Studios with a poster design. The first limited edition poster was sent to Her Majesty, who also has the title of Captain General of the Royal Horse Artillery. Here is her reply:

Letter from Her Majesty dated 20th December 2011

No doubt the poster will end up in the barracks in St. Johns Wood, where the photo story began at 5:00 a.m. so long ago.

You can see the video here!

December 30, 2011   No Comments

Blackstone Edge Studios Presents “I Vow To Thee My Country” in Images and Voice on YouTube

Orthochromatic negative produced on a glass plate c. 1972

While living in London in the early 70s, I was awoken on a misty morning in my small bedsit in Swiss Cottage by the sound of caissons rolling and hooves clippity clopping on the damp tarmac. For a moment, I thought I was living in the past when troopers regularly rode off to the front on chilly mornings in 1914, on the eve of World War I. In fact, I was working around London for some of the great photographers of the day. I’d just landed a job in an ad agency, but I wanted to do something a little different than photographing cat and dog meat for clients. I wanted to tell a whole story in photos, capturing the preparation for the celebration of the Queen’s Birthday on June 2, 1972.

Royal Horse Artillery Barracks in St. Johns Wood © Philip Clayton-Thompson 1972

I later immigrated to the United States, where I became one of the most prolific interior design photographers over the last 20 years. I had been storing these 8×10 B&W prints for the past 40 years, and when it came time for to me sing this anthem – “I Vow To Thee My Country” with music by Gustav Holst; poem by Cecil Spring-Rice – it called out to be illustrated by these images I took so long ago. Thus, it is with great pleasure that I share this historical moment through my photography and voice.

Marble Arch opened on June 2nd for the Queen's Birthday © Philip Clayton-Thompson 1972

A limited edition poster that includes most of these images is available through

Watch the YouTube Video to see all the vintage images, hear me sing this moving anthem and to view the poster. There is also a link available on

October 12, 2011   1 Comment


Happy Labor Day ©Blackstone Edge Studios

With a hint of fall already in the Oregon air, we at Blackstone Edge Studios wish all of you a beautiful, relaxing Labor Day. Thank you for all the hard working people in this country and elsewhere.

Piccola Casa - Take a Seat, Read a Book ©Blackstone Edge Studios

September 3, 2011   No Comments