Shot by Jeff Clark
Recognizing creative process might be impossible. How do you measure creativity, the moment an idea is derived? What were the influences? What was the single thing that flipped the switch? One thing that’s certain is that you can’t take the end product alone and say you understand the creative process.
Take Jeff Clark, a Santa Barbara based photographer who might not actually identify as a photographer despite it being his vocation. He’s a craftsman for certain, but photography might be more an outlet for all of his collected interests. Photography might simply be the single place he can represent everything.
But, if we were to look at Jeff’s photography and say we understand him as an artist, we’d be thinking rather hubristically. A lot of things go into a photo, but it’s not the very thing we should be interested in by itself. The uniqueness of his photography lies in the external inputs.
Jeff’s living and his passion are his photography. He started shooting as a photojournalist before transitioning into capturing lifestyle and lifestyle products on film (well, not film). The lifestyle he captures are the ones he is a part of. They are elements of community mixed in with surf and bike culture.
So, you’ve heard about this kind of photographer before.
Jeff doesn’t like talking about himself all that much, but what we do know is that he’s a self proclaimed blue collar photographer. When he was younger he hopped train cars. He liked to travel, he always has. Now, his photo assignments take him across the world.
Jeff is a builder. At his house, he built a small, ornate tea room with his hands that sits in his backyard in Santa Barbara. He creates light installations for friends. He builds various pyrotechnic installations for Burning Man. He takes friends when he shoots to teach and mentor. If you ask him to shoot your dog on the beach he’ll happily do so. He tinkers and thinks about aesthetic in the physical realm, his studio a simply styled room.
Jeff doesn’t want to be a prominent photographer. One can see, now, why perhaps photography is his outlet. He has a passion for craft in the physical realm across various genres. He likes how things go together and the tools of his various trades shape these domains.
But if you’re Jeff, how might you represent this in your life? How might you try to aggregate all these passions into one? Well, consider what’s at the heart of these unique crafts. What can he create that will both satisfy his creative needs while providing a public good, especially for the public with whom he associates
Shot by Jeff Clark
Photography seems to be just that unique outlet. Or maybe we’re being a bit hubristic.