Rfotofolio is pleased to share the work and words of Clay Lipsky.Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Clay Lipsky and I am graphic designer and fine art photographer based in Los Angeles. Most of my time is spent working as an art director/motion graphics artist developing the graphic “look” of television shows, film titles and directing the occasional music video. I enjoy using photography as a creative outlet that motivates me to explore the world, stay inspired, and offset my creative work of the day.
How did you get started photography?
My dad bought me my first camera in 6th grade, which I still have. That led to my enthusiastic involvement as a photographer on the yearbook staff all throughout high school. In college I initially pursued a degree in film & cinema, but ultimately followed a career path based around graphic design and multimedia. Despite my many interests, photography has always been a part of my life, but I never really pursued it seriously as an art form until recently.
Which photographers and other artists work do admire?
I admire a wide range of photographers from Andreas Gursky to Parke-Harrison, James Nachtwey and beyond. Since I am self-taught and did not study photography in school I am constantly discovering new inspirations with a growing respect for those that have come before me. Additionally, I admire a slew of contemporary illustrators, graphic artists and filmmakers that are propelling the visual medium forward both creatively and technologically.
And what about their work inspires you?
I enjoy the scope and scale of works by artists such as Andreas Gursky Andreas and Edward Burtynsky. Their photos are epic, exotic, awe-inspiring, humbling, colorful, real, and laced with meanings and warnings of industrialization and consumerism. Artists such as Parke-Harrison remind me of the magic of photography and how it can be used as a looking-glass into alternate realities. The emerging artist scene inspires me with creative explorations by a visually savvy and informed generation using technologies both past, present, and future to create new visions.
Please tell us about an image (not your own) that has stayed with you overtime?
I love Philippe Halsman’s, “Dali Atomicus” a black and white photo of Salvador Dali painting while floating in the air with cats and water flying about. It is an image that is pure Dalí inspired lunacy mixed with magic and all created in-camera (they really threw those cats and water). It is as though we are seeing behind the scenes of Dalí creating, a bit of his hallucinatory reality splashed into our world. The photo asks us to not see it as a frozen moment but to believe in the conceptual escape/alternate reality. It’s the entertaining mix of concept, technique, execution, personality and creative fun that keeps this image with me, a photo that works well now and yet was made in 1948.
If no one saw your work, would you still create it?
Yes, I have spent most of my life making and not sharing.
Please tell us about your process and what the perfect day of photography is for you.
Often I explore a very loose process where I experiment with different looks, cameras and techniques until I find the right synergy with a subject and then pursue that direction. A perfect day would start with coffee then encompass visiting a new place, blending in with it to create a succinct creative response that captures a feeling and not just the reality.
Please tell us about your involvement with PhotostockFest.
At PhotostockFest I will be presenting two bodies of work and the inspirations, hidden meanings, and creative journey behind them. The discussion will share the challenges of self-portraits in a foreign landscape and personal connection I have with “In Dark Light” and the experience of having a series go viral online with “Atomic Overlook”. I met Photostock’s founder, Bill Schwab, years ago while on a tour he led around Iceland. We soon became friends and was kind enough to publish me as part of his 11+1 book series. I am happy I can contribute to PhotostockFest and support his endeavors that champion the art of photography.
What challenges do you face as a photographer?
I am learning to navigate the modern photo arts landscape in a trial by fire. It is a windy road to understand the pros and cons of gallery representation, image licensing, publishing, portfolio reviews, social media, and so on. Primarily the challenges are to find your voice, overcome obstacles, minimize expenses, and try to remember that this is all for fun.
With the rapid changes in how people make and view a photograph how do you view this time in the history of photography?
I think this time will be remembered as the moment when society became inundated with images, but hopefully also the time when the bar was raised for photography so that images with concept and heart rise to the top.
How does your art affect the way you see the world?
It keeps my eyes open and mind occupied with new ways of digesting the world around me.
What is on the horizon for you?
I am looking forward to releasing some more self-published photo books this year. I really love the power of the medium to bring a series together and have something greater than the sum of its parts. Hopefully, I will be shooting more too, but that is always the struggle when having a full-time job.
Where can we see your work?
The photo books will come intermittently throughout the year and I am often found updating my social media and GoClayGo.com site with new images and experimental projects.
Thank you Clay for sharing your work with us. To learn more about Clay Lipsky please visit his site. Clay Lipsky Photography
To learn more about PhotostockFest please visit their site. PhotostockFest
Thank you to the Philippe Halsman Archive.
To learn more about Philippe Halsman please visit their site. Philippe Halsman