Terry Clark Photography

Are you looking for a photographer that can bring a fresh and creative eye to your next project or portrait?

Then look no further. Terry Clark Photography is one of the most sought after photographers in the country. Having photographed three Presidents of the United States, kings, titans of industry, and business of all size and description, there is no assignment too small or too large.

Having traveled far and wide to create storytelling pictures for his clients, Terry Clark Photography has the experience and knowledge to pull together any project, domestic or International. If compelling images are most important to you and your client, working with our team will ensure the success of your project.

Call 412-491-7887 to speak with a team member about your next photo shoot.

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Filtering by Tag: Pittsburgh editorial photographer

President Gerald Ford at the University of Michigan

I started out young. Very young. My first newspaper assignment came about when I was just 15 years old. Two years later, I was on staff and eager to prove myself. When word about President Gerald Ford coming back to his home state to speak at the University of Michigan, I convinced my editor we should cover the event. A few phone calls, a letter to the Secret Service and it was game on. 

On the day of the event, I arrived extra early to get my credentials and go through the bag check line. Once approved, all the press photographers were herded into a holding room to wait for the time we could enter the hall and take our positions on the photographer platform. 

The room was very crowded. We were elbow to elbow. Seemed like every newspaper in the state, no matter the size sent a photographer, and of course, the most prominent papers sent more than one. And here I was, a teenager with a press pass and my bosses Leicas around my neck. My eyes must have been as wide as saucers with excitement. 

Eventually, an older, veteran news photographer loaded with multiple Nikon cameras and long lenses came up beside me. He stared me up and down, smirking at the limited gear I had. Finally, he snarled, "Kinda young, aren't you?" Naive doesn't even come close to what happened next. In response to the old photographer's question, I beamed, "Yes! This is the first time I've ever shot a President!" 

Oops. OMG, what did I say!

I can imagine what the parting of the Red Sea looked like based on the mass of news photographers in that room who, upon hearing my response, immediately stepped back, leaving me alone in the center of the space. Well, not entirely alone, there was one other person, an enormous person, dressed in a dark suit and talking into his sleeve. He looked down at me, now shaking in my shoes, and said very sternly, "Son, we don't use that kind of jargon around the President of the United States." Gulp. I'm not sure at that moment if I turned snow white or beet red, but I know some color change occurred and time seemed to stand still as the immense Secret Service agent stared into my almost weeping eyes. Then, almost as if on cue, muffled laughter circled the room. The rest of the press corps thought it was quite amusing how far the new kid stuck his foot down his throat. With that, the agent gave me a slight wink and walked away. Lesson learned. And while this was my first time photographing a President, it wouldn't be my last.


Happiness is the truth

Sometimes you meet people who are plain joyous. They have an inner something that no matter what they do, or their station in life they are happy. Not pleasant smiling, but full on Pharrell Williams "Happy." You can almost imagine them dancing while doing whatever they do. 

"The Ringer" was one of those guys. My encounter with him on a tour of a turkey farm and processing facility was brief, but his personality was vivacious. He was a darn happy guy, proud of where he worked and what he did. He was helping people have a fantastic holiday dinner with good friends and loving family. How can you argue with that logic? 

So, on this hump day Wednesday, remember, no matter what your toil, how stressful the job, or the conditions of your work, if this guy can be happily ringing the necks of turkeys, what's your excuse?



Anticipation: noun. Expectation or hope. 

We've all been there. Hanging on by a thread, excited for the outcome, hoping things go in our favor. Maybe it's waiting to hear about the birth of a child, a big job offer, the lottery numbers or springtime in Pittsburgh. Whatever reason it might be, anticipation is a universal emotion. 

Anticipation is a look on the face, body language, and feeling. It provokes tension.  Capturing it in a picture can elevate the image to another level. 

Why it works:

In the photo "Waiting for the Call," anticipation is present on every face and in the body language of the umpire. From the kickup of dust on the lower left to the extended hand of the official on the upper right, there is a diagonal line leading your eye quickly through the frame. Diagonals provide speed and power. Over and over triangles are formed by the people in the picture adding strength and dynamism to the composition. The fence, divided into three rectangles, emulates the three players in the foreground but contrasts with them in their geometry. 

And then there's the timing of the shot. A fraction of a second earlier or later and the image would not be what it is. The composition would be off, the expressions changed, and the umpire's hand, arm, and foot would not be in position. Practice anticipating action makes this image, not the burst of a motor drive. One frame is all you need. One frame is all I got. 



The Rescue

Throughout my newspaper career, I chased spot news – police action, fires, accidents, people doing a bad thing to other people. No matter when or where I had one ear to the police scanner. Most of the newspapers I worked at encouraged the practice. There's a reason why the old saying "if it bleeds it leads" is out there. At one time I had three scanners mounted in my car along with a car phone (pre-cell phone days), CB, and dock for the company's two-way radio. My cop friends would joke I had more antennas on my car than they had on theirs. It was true. 

One afternoon I was sitting around in the news office when an emergency call came across the scanner for a man who fell off a retaining wall. None of the other photographers wanted to go because it didn't sound that serious. I said I was going. Nothing else was happening so if it panned out as nothing, no significant loss but a few minutes drive. 

From a news perspective, it wasn't much. A man, who most likely had too much to drink, fell off a wall. What made it important was the intensity the rescuers worked to help this gentleman. As I stood on the wall from which he fell, the rescue squad below surrounded him to aid his rescue, in doing so they formed a perfect circle. 

Life is full of serendipitous moments, and this was one. As I looked down thru my Leica M3 and 90mm lens, I waited for the squad to begin lifting the man to the stretcher. In that brief moment, the composition formed. From my high angle, I could see the victim's face and his hand, reaching out, touching one of his rescuers. One frame it all came together, and in a blink of the eye, gone. 

In the darkroom, I did a significant amount of burning around the subjects. I wanted all the emphasis on the rescue, not on the rocks and brush where the man landed. On the original silver print, I used potassium ferricyanide to bleach the man's head bandage and face. As W. Eugene Smith once said in a Camera 35 (magazine) interview, "My prints are not dark, everything you need to see you see." 

The next day the newspaper displayed the picture prominently on the front page. It wasn't because of the news value. It was a minor event. But this picture captured something greater than the sum of its parts. In that brief moment, the photo became a display of love and selfless service to humanity. Even though you can only see the victim's face, the image is more about the rescuers.

The man who fell was banged up but not seriously injured. 
He made a full recovery. 


Beauty and the Beasts

A sight that we'll never see again. This is the big parade from the Barnum and Bailey Circus. When they rolled into town via train, they assembled the animals and walked them to the site of the performance. I created this image, Beauty and the Beasts while covering one such parade. 

When I saw this woman working with the elephants before the parade, I knew there would be a powerful photo. Her fair skin and silk costume were natural textural points with the elephants dark, textured hide. The size differential, she was small compared to the massive pachyderms, was a distinct bonus.

To put it all together, I backed off and selected a 300mm lens to compress the scene. I wanted all those elements on the same plane.

Compositionally I was aware of the line of the elephant's eyes leading the views eyes through the image. Instinctively I was also looking for the Fibonacci spiral or rule of thirds to strengthen the dynamic composition. When I felt all the elements come together, I pressed the shutter. I got one frame, and the woman disappeared between her charges. 

The scene developed in moments lasted for a split second and never came back together. That's photojournalism. You're either ready or your not. Your senses must always be on high alert whether you are covering the President of the United States, a city council meeting or a circus parade. As an early mentor always said, "To get there (hand held high) you have to start here (hand held low) and work your ass off every day on every job, no matter what you're shooting."

In the darkroom, I did a significant amount of work to massage the contrast in particular areas. Ilford Multigrade paper was a miracle. You could use a grade 5 filter in one area to increase contrast and a low grade 0 in another to balance a wide range of tones. It was not unusual for me to use three or four different filters on a print. A lot dodging and burning of small areas took place as well to bring the emphasis to the woman. As is often quoted from Ansel Adams, “The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.” You see only to show.


Sports Photography

It's baseball season! It's hockey playoffs! And soon, it will once again be Steeler season (what, too early?). So, let's talk sports photography.

With digital cameras providing lighting fast focus speeds, auto tracking and upward of 20 frames per second firing rates it's hard to imagine the days gone by when you had to use hand-eye coordination to keep your subject sharp and tiger-like reflexes to capture the singular moment. A time when firing three frames per second with your Nikon F36 motor drive felt powerful. Even at that blazing speed you quickly learned a lot could happen between those frames if you don't capture the right moment on the lead exposure. Despite technology, then and today, it's first about timing. Just holding down the shutter release (spray and pray) will only take you so far. You'll get lucky once in a while, but those who truly excel at the craft perfect the ability to slow down time in their mind and fire first at the exact right millisecond. 

If you want a challenge, set your camera to single frame and go out to a highway and try to capture a vehicle hitting a single mark. Up the anty and switch off your autofocus and try to nail the target and keep it tack sharp. Now do it over and over for an entire football game, rugby match, or any other intensely physical sport. 

Believe me; my old eyes are exceedingly happy for autofocus today, but I'm also glad I came up at a time when it was all with the photographer. When putting yourself in a Zen state was the only way to use a long lens like the 500mm f/8 mirror efficiently. It may sound corny to some, but to follow focus on a running subject zig-zagging across a playing field using a mirror lens with a depth of field of just inches is exceptionally tricky. Call it Zen or "the zone" or whatever you choose, but to do the job at the highest level, you had to transform into something more than yourself. Looking at the best of sports photography today, I'm confident that part hasn't changed one bit. 

Rugby photographed with a Nikon F and F36 motor drive using a Nikon 500mm f/8 mirror lens.

Rugby photographed with a Nikon F and F36 motor drive using a Nikon 500mm f/8 mirror lens.

Diane Arbus

"Are you related to Diane Arbus?"

That was the question posed to me in 1980 by one of the most respected photo educators in the country, Angus McDougall at the University of Missouri. At that time, McDougall had more graduates in positions at leading newspapers and magazines than anyone else. So when he spoke, people listened. 

"Are you related to Diane Arbus?" he asked. Of course, the answer was no; I'm not. He wondered because of my photos being "quirky" sometimes almost to an extreme. I didn't have a style like most other students. It wasn't typical American photojournalism. It wasn't entirely European either. It was some strange conglomeration he couldn't put his finger on so he related it to the only thing that made sense, the odd, sometimes uncomfortable, work of Diane Arbus. 

While I'm not sure he meant it as a compliment, but I took it as such. My style isn't "the Missouri way," or any other teachable way, but it is my way. It's how I see the world, sometimes paring in odd ways. 

I've often looked back to my time at Ball State University and am thankful I found a teacher and mentor in Joseph Costa who allowed me to be me, for better or worse, rather than a prescribed formula for how an American photojournalist should see. 


Ring of Fire

Sometimes you're just given a picture. 

While working in a fabrication plant, I saw this gentleman whose job it was to take a red-hot hoop of metal from one machine to another using tongs. Each time he passed the hot steel across it framed his face for a split second. All I had to do was make my shot at the right moment to circle the workers face in the Ring of Fire. It was all timing. The glowing metal provided a ring light to illuminate his face. And yes, it was hours before I could get that Johnny Cash song out of my head.


Little Michael

In 1975 Little Michael Lord, 7, was a child evangelist, faith healer and one of the hottest attractions on the Bible Belt. That year his big yellow van with “Little Michael Ministries” scrawled on the side racked up more than 100,000 miles on the revival circuit. So when the revival show rolled into Mid-Michigan, my editor dispatched me to cover the event.

Little Michael and his father, Rev. Michael Lord Sr., loved media attention, so I had carte blanch to move around the tiny church where they preached. To move quickly and quietly I used two Leica cameras, M2 and M3, and just three lenses; 21mm, 50mm, and 135mm.

At 51, he's no longer "Little" Michael Lord, but still touring the country as an evangelist.