Images shot in and around the Great Salt Lake in Utah by Tom Clark.
Copyrighted Imagery - All Rights Reserved
I was about 8 when my folks gave me my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic that took square black & white pictures. Since we were living in Italy and traveling often all over Europe and the countries bordering the Mediteranean there were plenty of amazing things to take pictures of. Time passes and once again I'm back in Italy; this time in my late twenties with my ex-wife and our year old daughter living in a centuries-old villa in the rolling vineyards near Chiusi in Tuscany. I was in Italy to study music but every day I looked around me and all I saw were people and things I wanted to take pictures of. And so I did.
One beautiful October day while sitting outside the villa looking across the colorful fall vineyards I leaned over to my wife and said, "I want to be a photographer. That's all I want to do." And just like that a whole new world opened up in my consciousness. A few months later we moved to Hollywood where I hung out a shingle and started calling myself a pro, taking pictures of anyone who'd sit still long enough for me to get my camera out of my bag. It's been an extraordinary journey over the past 30 years with some of the most beautiful, interesting, famous and talented people stepping in front of my cameras. I've done it all though, from architectural and interior design photography to weddings, parties, landscapes, products, gardens and even Koi. As they say in Italy, "Tutto fa brodo." It all makes soup! And for sure it's been one fabulous minestrone of a career.
Through it all there has been an unbroken thread of passion for people and the bodies they inhabit. Nudes came into the picture very early on, starting with the rowdy and sometimes itinerant boys of summer that I met in Laguna Beach after I first moved to California. From those first early efforts at photographing bodies till this very moment I've been the luckiest guy on earth to have a steady supply of people who are so at home in their bodies that they're willing to allow me to photograph them nude. It's an arena that invokes my greatest passions as well as my deepest respect for the people I work with. My interest in nudes likely reaches back to my childhood in Italy where I was surrounded by the work of some of the world's greatest artists. When I first started doing nudes however I was completely unaware of any connection there; I was just doing what I loved doing. It wasn't until many years later that I became aware of the motivations and inspirations involved in my work, which has made me grateful to have been raised in Italy without the biases and limitations of US cultural norms.
Today I continue to do nudes with more comfort and freedom than ever; sustained in that work every step of the way by the amazing people who make it all possible. Contemporary influences include Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Greg Gorman, Annie Liebovitz, Paul Freeman and Claire Jean among many others. Ritts and Weber created imagery in the beginning of my career that somehow made it acceptable to photograph men with unapologetic openness. Liebovitz's work made it clear that her comfort with and respect for the people she photographed created a level of intimacy in her portraiture that stood her apart from the crowd. Greg Gorman's warm-toned black & white nudes in his book "As I See It" speaks to a trust and intimacy with his models that I aspire to and am inspired by. Paul Freeman has given us skillfully crafted portraits of both male and female athletes that echo the classic Greco-Roman status and veneration once reserved for the Gods.
And finally, French artist and photographer Claire Jean who lives in Brazil creates with a joy for people, earth and color that has excited me and riveted my attention more than any other living artist. While the work of these gifted photographers has inspired me over the years it has never generated in me a desire to imitate them but rather join them in their unabashed love of what they do and to craft with the same skill and passion they do.