I come from a technical background and curiosity leads me to wonder about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of things. This is reflected in my photographs. My photos are often focused on how my subject is doing what it’s doing and why it’s doing it. My love of railroads – particularly steam locomotives – and wildlife give me lots of opportunities to illustrate these concepts. As you look at my photographs, you can see I strive to show why a critter is where it is and doing what it is doing. Is it feeding on something, hiding from something or trying to attract the attention of a potential mate? In my railroad photographs, I try to show why the railroad exists and how the particular railroad and equipment conquer the specific challenges of terrain and climate.
My work is ongoing, there are over 200 working steam locomotives in the US, I’ve photographed 127 of them under steam and intend to get to the rest. In the last several years, I’ve been able to pursue my other love, nature photography. I’ve managed to capture over 300 species, traveling from the Bay of Fundy to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Viewers are the ultimate judge of my images. An image succeeds when viewers recognize the effort – often dozens of hours to capture an image – and my attention to detail that shows the smallest features of my subjects. I insist on technical excellence in my images. To that end I use only top of the line equipment, often tweaking my hardware to improve performance. This allows me to make the best possible image in camera, and lets me limit my processing to what used to be standard darkroom techniques in the days of film. My prints are produced on high-end giclée printers, using only archival papers and inks.
Ian Clark is the former Manager of NASA’s Photographic Section at the Langley Research Center, as well as the owner or operator of several commercial photo labs. Along the way, he processed something over 10,000 miles of E-6 slide film, several thousand miles of color negative, VNF news film, and black and white films, along with something like 600 acres of photo paper.
Ian’s career as a photographer started in 1975 when, as a sophomore in high school, he started shooting for his local newspaper. By 1979, he’d gotten his first national magazine cover of TRAINS Magazine. These days, he shoots for editorial, stock and commercial users from his home in West Newbury, VT. Ian’s work has appeared in numerous books, magazines, newspapers, calendars and print ads.
In addition to taking on projects that use photography as an engineering tool, Ian has built a library of over 1,500,000 images, with many transportation and nature images. His transportation focus is on railroads. He is working on photographing all the remaining steam locomotives in the US. He has a good start. Of roughly 200 locomotives that can be operated, Ian has photographed 127 under steam.
In the last several years, Ian has found time to pursue his other love: nature photography. He has photographed over 350 species from the Bay of Fundy to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Ian’s other interests include receiving a B.S. in Photo Finishing & Management from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and meeting his editor and wife, Lee, while in graduate school at The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Ian insists on making the highest quality images possible. He uses the best equipment available, often finding ways to tweak off-the-shelf hardware to improve performance. You can see the results in his work; note the crisp focus and fine details in the images. He makes his prints with top of the line giclée printers, using only archival papers and inks. Giclée (“Zhee-Clay”) is a high-end ink jet printing process that provides fine detail and allows the proper reproduction of over 64,000,000 colors.