Q: Introduce Yourself
A: I’m Cameron Clarke. I am from Jersey City, New Jersey, born and raised. I am a photographer and have a second full time where I do coding and programming, specifically application development. If I’m not doing one thing, I’m doing the other. I’m pretty much working all the time.
Q: What were your earliest influences?
A: My main influence was definitely just the environment I surrounded myself in. Growing up, I was very interested in skateboarding and I loved the imagery of music in general. Not necessarily just rap, the majority did have to do with rap music but I was just in love with music and the way the artists and the industry looked, especially in the early 2000s and early 2010s. It was very interesting to me. Growing up, I would always watch X Games and although skateboarding and things of that nature were not really common in Jersey City, I still always took a lot of interest in it. I love skateboard photography and the videography of skateboarding, as well. I could watch it all day and I still do to this day. In terms of the music industry, even in the R&B lane, there was a lot of influence from that but I listened to rap and the stills from that and the way the album covers looked are things I really loved. I looked at Thrasher Magazine and XXL and The Source Magazine to see the imagery and the way the artist looked and the way photographers made tricks a lot cooler than they actually were, and just the way things looked in general was a big interest for me and that made me really want to get into photography.
Q: What was the transition like from street photography to portrait?
A: I got into street photography because I always wanted to do portrait photography and skate photography but I just didn’t know any skaters. At the time growing up, I was very into sports and I always played football at a pretty high level from middle school all the way to college. All of my friends were into sports so nobody was focused on getting photos taken of them even though it was for free or just going outside to kind of look cool or for me to get this look I wanted. At the time, portrait photography wasn't as trendy as it is now so there weren't people that I knew that wanted their face to be out there and there was no real way I could get in touch with anybody to get portraits of anyone so the best way to take photos was to walk around and take photos of my environment. I lived pretty close to New York so I just started going to the city and walking around Wall Street and when I got out of school if I didn't have practice, I would go and at rush hour all around Wall Street and just take photos of people leaving work. I would go on rainy days and catch the imagery of people rushing in and out of work. I would go around Times Square sometimes and just take photos and I would just walk around because that’s all I could really take photos of. Long story short, I ended up putting down photography for a little bit. From 2013-2015/2016, I was taking photos consistently. After 2016, I put it down to put all of my time and focus on playing football. I started taking football really seriously from 2016 up until my sophomore year of college including a year of prep school. When I came back home after I was done playing ball, I realized that I was looking for something to replace football again and that had always been photography. On top of that, now taking portraits is trendy and something I always wanted to do so finding models was really easy and that's how I was able to get back into the groove of things. Nowadays, I’m executing ideas I thought about when I was 13,14,15 years old, but I just didn’t have the resources to do that.
More of this interview available in print Jai Street Vol. 1 Magazine