Smile big, laugh hard and make people happy!
Intro by Skip Cohen
Ever had somebody come into your life, and after the very first meeting, you can't remember when they weren't around? Well, meet a great buddy, Terry Clark.
It started in 2009 when Terry bid on a fund-raiser for a couple of hours of my time to help with marketing his business. I was living in Akron, Ohio, and he was in Pittsburgh. So, rather than do a conference call, Molly the Wonder Dog and I jumped in the car and drove over to hang out with Terry for the day.
That kicked off the friendship, and while we seem to take turns losing touch, each conversation always starts as if we put a comma after what either of us said the last time we talked. Last week was my birthday, and Terry wished me a happy one on Facebook...that started the conversation up again.
He sent me the piece below, and there's so much great content in it, and I asked if it was okay to share. Then I called him yesterday to talk him into being a guest on the "Mind Your Own Business" podcast for June, and here I am with his guest post today. Check out more of Terry's work with a click on the banner above. And if you're anywhere near Boardman, Ohio - Terry's teaching photography classes at YM Camera.
When I think of the most diverse artists I know and respect, Terry's one of the first who comes to mind. He's been a photo editor, photojournalist, portrait artist, educator, and storyteller. And there's a common denominator in all his images. It's his trademark - the emotion each image brings to the viewer.
I look back on our first meeting and remember thinking, "This guy's work is amazing - what does he need me for?" The truth is, we all need a friend like Terry!
by Terry Clark
When you reach a certain age, you're supposed to sit down and "retire." What does that even mean as a photographer?
There came the point in my career, after doing photography for 45 years, I recognized I needed a break. I wasn't interested in actual retirement, just a pause to reflect, take stock in what I had done in life, and plan for the next chapter. So I shifted my priorities to teaching thanks to an opportunity with a local camera shop. Selling out multiple lighting workshops sealed the deal. There was a void, and I could fill it with knowledge gained from decades of experience.
Then the dreaded pandemic hit. As the saying goes, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. It was a curse and a blessing. Suddenly I had a lot of time to reflect. Unfortunately, I also caught Covid. I recovered, mostly. Long Covid symptoms linger even after two years. So as I have done throughout my career, I now must improvise, adapt, and overcome to live the life I want.
With things mostly back to normal, I'm pursuing my plans while teaching students through the camera shop. And what praytell am I doing? I'm going back to my roots of photojournalism and long-term documentary photography. I'm also going back to shooting film.
Why film, especially at this point? The simple answer is it is part of my history. I spent most of my life working with Tri-X for newspapers and magazines. And it makes me happy.
Using film makes me think. Not just about exposure, but most importantly, about composition and timing. It's too easy to bang away on a digital camera where you have thousands of images available on a single card. A roll of film is 36 exposures. And since I'm using old Nikon cameras, you have to manually advance to each new frame. Timing is crucial to making a great frame.
Sure, there are ways to do the same with digital – tape off the LCD screen, use single frame exposure, and change your mindset. But in the end, you wind up with a file that's merely ones and zeros. There is nothing physical to hold in your hand, only an image in the ether of cyberspace.
I may be old, but I'm not foolish. I maintain a small digital kit for the occasional commercial job and lenses unavailable for my rangefinder film camera. A few weeks ago, I spent a wonderful time photographing eagles with a 150-600mm Tamron lens. The world of professional photography has moved on from film. Twenty-two years ago, I leaped early into the new technology for my business. It was the right move, just as going back to film is for my new chapter.
Another plan was to travel this country, exploring small towns and the great southwest. The current price of gas is forcing a change of that right now. Driving to Michigan from Ohio to visit my brother costs nearly $200 round trip. I know prices will ease at some point, so until that time, short jaunts will suffice. Once they do, we're way past due for that cigar my friend. You can expect a visit!
As my latest t-shirt says, "Young at heart, other parts slightly older." Except for my eyes, they are as sharp as ever. Always remember, smile big, laugh hard, and make people happy. And drink coffee, lots of coffee!
Stay young, my friend!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.