Every photograph begins with an idea. The job of a photographer is to not only capture the vision, but manipulate it into art, bigger than life and beyond any initial expectations. Photographer, Clay Cook, has learned the importance of going the extra mile, after a long, arduous run in the music business. As a result, his wisdom, field experience and work ethic has pushed him further into an inspiring career in Editorial and Portrait photography. Over a short period of time, Clay has shaped creative projects with brands such as: A&E, History, Lifetime, Comcast, Uproxx, Livestrong, NFL, Papa John’s Pizza and Vince Camuto. In addition, he has brought to life, worldwide assignments for publications such as Time, Forbes, Popular Mechanics, The Guardian, O, The Oprah Magazine, Adweek, USA Today, ESPN and Inc. Along with the desire to offer loyal solutions for every project, Clay can spread the word with the help of a large social media and blogging community. Start with an idea and Clay will lead it to a roaring finish line.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Resides: Louisville, Kentucky
Career Highlight #1: I photographed editorial & entertainment projects for clients such as Time, Forbes, History, Lifetime and ESPN.
Career Highlight #2: I have coached over 1,000 photographers through my intensive workshop series ([www.claycookworkshops.com]claycookworkshops.com), nationally & internationally.
Career Highlight #3: I have partnered with several non-profit celebrity initiatives with a focus on development and overcoming conflict in Iraq, Tanzania, Belize, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and more.
Career Highlight #4: I photographed a twenty-page fashion editorial in Havana, Cuba for The Voice Of Louisville magazine. All was in cooperation with the Cuban government.
Career Highlight #5: I photographed Jennifer Lawrence for The Jennifer Lawrence Foundation.
BlackRapid product of choice: Classic Retro RS-4 Camera Strap
Age you took your first photo? What camera did you use? First: D5000
Who inspires you: Annie Leibovitz, Norman Jean Roy, Miller Mobley, Kristian Schuller, Patrick Demarchelier
What is your dream photoshoot? Fortunately, I live out dream shoots nearly every day. I get to go places and see things that a lot of artists would die for. I have a lot of friends and an established network of stylists, models and creative talent. I just need the budget, and for me that is a dream come true. The budget to fly my team wherever I want and shoot whatever I want.
What camera do you use to capture most of your work? CCurrent: Canon 5D Mark III, Phase One IQ250, Mamiya RZ67
What do you do when not taking photos? Sleep, Write, Read, Adult Beverages With Friends, Good Food
Favorite place on earth? Nepal
Where is the photography industry headed? It’s an exciting time for photography, everyone has a camera. It’s now more important than ever to set yourself apart and think differently. I see photography as an outlet to many, but I also see it being taken for granted in the future. The need for good equipment will always be there. It may become more mobile and less footprint, but quality gear will always be necessary.
How do you “Live The Moment”? Fear is often something I struggled with in conflict zones such as Iraq or developing countries such as Bangladesh. But, as a photographer you must overcome fear and step outside your comfort zone. I’m not afraid to approach strangers, hang off a roof or walk down a dark alley for the shot.