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.

email – terry@terryclark.com

Filtering by Category: Photographer experiences

It's all about the light

Sometimes you find the light, and sometimes the light finds you. Be ready. 

During an eight-day shoot in Italy, we stopped one afternoon in Siena. My knees were hurting, the mid-day light was bright and contrasty, and so I wasn't feeling it, but after a bit of mumbling and grumbling I trecked on. And wow, I'm happy I did! 

Walking through the narrow streets of this ancient city I discovered one visual surprise after another. The light bounced and reflected off surfaces as I had never seen before. Shadows cast with sharp definition and contrast formed complex compositions. Because of the orange tones of the buildings, all light in the open shade tunnel of the streets were void of the usual blue cast. It was bright, warm and soft light all at the same time.

Just when I thought it couldn't get better, serendipity stepped in for a grand surprise. We saw two women coming down the street, and my traveling companion recognized one of them as his cousin! What were the chances? Add to that the women stopped to greet us right in front of this fantastic reflection of light. Sometimes, the light finds you. Chiao!

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Another profile change

Sometimes you have to have to admit you made a mistake. All you can do is fix it and move on. 

According to a lot of people who wrote, my mistake was changing my profile picture from happy me, to a more introspective portrait. "Not all change is good," as someone said. Or another, "The other picture is you!" 

Why bother to write about it? Just change it and go on. But a couple of things occurred to me this morning.

First, sometimes we tend to second guess ourselves too much. Is this right? Is it wrong? Should I change it? Next, we all aspire to make pictures that reveal the personality of our subject. When we nail it, be happy. This picture, or as I call it, my big smiling, belly laughing, hat tipping, happy snap, is me through and through. So, I guess I have to deal with it. I'm very serious about my work, but otherwise, I prefer to laugh. 

Always remember, smile big, laugh hard and make people happy.

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Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, Pop. Love you and miss you. Glad we got to talk so long this morning. 

My Dad worked hard all his life. While growing up, he did three jobs to make sure we never went without. For 30 years he toiled on a General Motors assembly line. He taught me to work hard, keep my head down and keep going. It was a small life lesson he gave by example. 

When I moved to Pittsburgh, he came out to help turn the building I bought into a studio. He built walls, painted and assembled an Ikea kitchen unit. The later was the only time he got frustrated. But, doesn't everybody get that way with Ikea? 

For those few weeks, we bonded like never before. Christmas day came, and we realized the kitchen wasn't ready, and we had no food. Nothing was open in the small town of Ambridge except one bar. We went in and were the only customers. Telling the bartender our plight he offered to make us the only thing he had, spaghetti, so that became our Christmas dinner. 

The weeks I spent with him during the buildout will always be one of my favorite memories of my father.

 

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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.

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My brush with a Kennedy

Central Michigan University, in Mt. Pleasant, MI, hosted the 1975 Special Olympics International Games. It was a huge deal. Special Olympics founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver was attending the event. I had just graduated from high school and was already working at the local daily newspaper.

During the opening ceremonies, I was assigned to cover stage events and speeches while our other photographer, Dale Atkins, roamed for more exciting pictures. I didn't care. Being just weeks out of high school and already living my dream as a newspaper photographer so who was I to complain.

As expected, I got the typical politician at the mic picture. Over and over and over again. Everyone who was anyone came out for the games. Finally, it was Mrs. Shriver's turn at the podium. By this time the light was high in the sky and extremely harsh. She was my money shot, the one the editor wanted for page one. I had to get this right. So I trained my brand new Nikon Ftn and 200mm f/4 Nikkor on her face. The successful picture came when she pushed her hair off her right ear. Her arm formed the perfect side of a triangle and provided for a dynamic composition. The editor loved it and ran it huge on page one the next morning.

When I saw the paper, I was thrilled. Well, for an hour or so. Seemed Mrs. Shriver did not like the picture. In fact, she hated it so much she called a friend, the owner, and publisher of the newspaper chain, and demanded I be fired, effective immediately. How dare I portray her with such course, wrinkled and unflattering skin! Forget the fact she spent most of her time on a sailboat in the ocean!

Thankfully, the editor had my back, so I didn't get fired. But I wasn't allowed to photograph Mrs. Shriver at any time during the games. In fact, I was told to stay clear of her, as far away as possible. So for the rest of the most significant event in local history, I was all but sidelined.

Looking back at those events today I laugh. My career nearly ended all because I made an honest, straightforward picture of a powerful and influential person, and they didn't like how they appeared. It was the first, but wouldn't be the last time I stepped on toes as a photojournalist.

 

Eunice Kennedy Shriver speaking at the 1975 International Special Olympics opening ceremonies.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver speaking at the 1975 International Special Olympics opening ceremonies.

Eye See You!

Making a connection with your subject is paramount in creating an exciting and engaging portrait. Sometimes that connection comes from the most unlikely source. 

Commissioned by art director Amy Rajokivc thru the Dymun-Nelson agency, I was tasked to create a series of portrait images for the Heinz Endowments annual report. The job went along well with each person sharing their story and experience. The conversations went back and forth, with rapport quickly established. Then came the library. 

At the Homewood Library, we were photographing children in a reading program with their favorite book. Many of the children were somewhat shy at first, but I'm just a big kid so getting down at their level and letting my inner child take over did the trick. 

Then this little guy came in. From the moment he sat down he was beaming with a smile that could light up the room. Every time I looked into the finder of my Hasselblad, he let out a giggle or a loud squeal. Now, I knew I was good with kids, but he was way beyond anything I ever dreamed! Everybody on set was astonished. The expressions I was capturing were almost too much. The most dramatic reactions were coming every time I looked down in my camera. I was getting confused until he pointed and exclaimed "EYE!!!" He saw my eyeball reflected thru the lens of the Hasselblad, and it broke him up! We all had a great laugh and a great time. 

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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?

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Welcome to my new website and blog

Today I'm proud to announce my new website and blog.

The lengthy process started a or more year ago with a list of wants, needs, and desires for a showcase of my work, a portal for my writing and, the future expansion into educational opportunities. This site is one I can grow with as the serpentine path of my life and career continues to advance. 

As I said, it was a long, arduous process. Often it felt like I was drinking from a firehose – seemed like a good idea at the time, until it wasn't. In the end, I got everything under control, and I'm happy with the results. I hope you'll like it too as I'm just getting started writing about photography. For your convenience, I've posted everything written since the beginning. 

Thank you and stay tuned! The best is yet to come!!

Building a new website is sometimes like trying to drink from a firehose.

Building a new website is sometimes like trying to drink from a firehose.

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. 

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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. 

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