clark thomas photographs / nashville

spirited  portraits

A great photograph stands on its own. Has no category. It is what it is.
But a great portrait, should not be about the photograph itself. It should be about
the subjects. The human beings. About who and how they are, inside and out. -C.

celebrating and honoring relationships


picture

Scott family

2008


picture

Andrews family

July 4, 2009


horse picture

Pacey & Claire

2006


Tyler Jacobs photo

Tyler Jacobs

2007


MBA 7th Grade Lacrosse, 4/17/2012

MBA 7th Grade

2012


monks

Tibetan monks, The Kempos

1995


BillyChopper

Billy Thomas

2007


WPLN Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer, WPLN

2013



WPLN Blake Farmer

      music makers



headshots, for work & for fun



picture

sample headshots



Christmas, Valentines, and We’ve Moved cards...



ReindeerCard
santaCard
Brandy photo

Bandy family

June 2009

Pictures can capture more information than we realize. A sense of ‘presence in the moment’ and sheer vitality can carry more “meat” than the mere ‘what we look like’ aspects of a photo. It’s the difference between capturing *how we are* as a presence, versus simply what we look like as physical objects.

Vandy students photo

Vandy Parents Weekend Committee

mid-1980's

Most people ‘do not love’ having their picture made. They say “It’s like going to the dentist,” so before we begin I sometimes show the photo above as my ‘minimum expectation’ for what we’re about to do. Even the nervous people laugh, realizing this might indeed be different from other photo sessions. Maybe not easy, but it won’t be boring.

Statement from an exhibit way back in
1984 at Haagen-Dazs on West End
(and I would’t change a word of it today)

If you’re with all of the people that you care about, all of the time, you probably won’t think about wanting photographs of them. Photographs, especially portraits, generally serve as reminders of the people we care about, when we are apart. They put us in touch with specific feelings and experiences, and remind us what it’s like when we are together.

Most of the people I photograph, are somehow insecure about their appearance, or embarrassed about not measuring up to some cultural standard of how people ought to look. Our society isn't very appreciative of the 99% of us that don't look like COSMO or ESQUIRE cover models. As a commercial photographer I was often asked to make people look “better” than they really look, more beautiful or sophisticated, or suave and hip. And for the right purpose or as an exercise, I did not object, but as an accepted practice it contributes to false values and the non-acceptance that leave many incredible people feeling inadequate. So... after years of doing commercial portraits for advertising and promotion, I began to explore a simpler, less sophisticated approach to photosessions, hoping to validate more genuine, and even more ordinary, everyday human qualities. The goal is to give people a glimpse of the natural beauty they exude when their guard is down, and they are simply participating genuinely. Simple photographs of people simply being themselves.

Originally, the new sessions were designed for individuals, shot solo and barefooted in the studio, but as they evolved, more and more people wanted to include their close friends. Some say they are less self-conscious in groups, but clearly, most wanted to record and celebrate their special closeness, like a lasting toast to their caring and appreciation. And people certainly do reveal themselves in their relationships, which makes my work a real pleasure.