Creator Spotlight: Justin Clark
"I think I’d call September-November 2018 when I started to consider photography a hobby of mine. From December it became what I’d call a passion."—Justin Clark
Justin quickly caught the attention of creators on Vocal with his helpful photography tips and guides. We’ve been looking forward to learning something new with every story that he’s submitted—and more recently have been very excited to learn about his thoughts outside of photography, including travel and social media. Creators like him help others in our community push their creativity forward, and for that we are incredibly grateful. We got to chat with Justin and learn a bit more about his passion for photography and being a creative—we’re excited to share his spotlight with you!
On who he is beyond the lens:
I’m currently living in Canada training to be a snowboard instructor, however back home I’m a Peri-operative Nurse. I absolutely love listening to music, and dressing up for Halloween (I currently have green hair), I’m a fan of traveling but I prefer to take longer trips where I can genuinely experience a culture as opposed to getting the “tourist” perception.
I am a keen wargamer back home, and one of my large social circles is also very involved in Warhammer. We get together often to paint, build or play. I also really enjoy snowboarding and try to go to the snow for at least a week every season, however work had previously made those commitments difficult. I also enjoy reading but don’t think I do enough of it.
On turning photography into more than a hobby:
I think I’d call September-November 2018 when I started to consider photography a hobby of mine. Prior to that I had dabbled, but nothing past using my iPhone with a wide angle lens on it. There was no concept of manual shooting, composition, colour theory, light theory. From December it became what I’d call a passion, from June 2019 it became a side hustle, and I’m currently trying to take the next step and turn it into a profession. Prior to photography, my main creative outlet was building and painting Warhammer miniatures from Games Workshop which I’ve been doing on and off for 16 odd years.
My first camera was a Nikon D3100 which I got from my parents for Christmas one year (nearly 10 years ago) but other than a couple of photos here and there at family birthday parties (that never left the memory card) I didn’t pick the camera up properly until I went on a work/education cruise to Papua New Guinea with some work friends to experience the hospitals in PNG late 2018. I shot entirely on Auto, in JPG, and edited the images on my iPad mini. From there I was hooked, I began consuming material online, blogs, books, guides, youtube videos, online courses, anything. While I was consuming all this material I’d set myself little projects and head out solo to do them, while wandering I managed to make friends who were also interested in photography, and continued to shoot with and learn from them.
On what inspires him:
If I find myself in a creative rut, a lot of the time I will just try to surround myself with great content, it’s taken me awhile but I’ve curated an instagram feed that shows me content that I know will inspire me, so I just consume the content of others sometimes and find that my appreciation of their work helps me appreciate my own. If I have an idea for a shoot, I often sketch it out first to get what’s in my head on paper so I don’t forget it and I can conceptualize it. I also do this rough conceptual sketch for photography sessions where people have hired me. I like to be prepared, and I find that conceptualising the photos I want to take before I get there can help get the ball rolling, but while I’m there I will often take photos outside of what I’ve planned, if you see something you like, photograph it, even if it’s not part of the “plan”.
Some other creatives who inspire me include:
@apicfrompaul - a wealth of knowledge and always up for banter
@photo_asc - one of the best street photographers that I’ve seen/met (incredible IG feed aesthetic)
@rob_visser_photography - absolutely mind-blowing nature/forest photographer
On some of his favorite kinds of photos to shoot:
Depends on the mood, each element of photography offers so much:
- Urban photography from back home is so convenient and offers so much diversity.
- Nature/landscape photography offers tranquility.
- Food photography gives me an opportunity to get creative and play with my food much to my mother’s dismay.
- Portraiture gives me the ability to take photos of friends or strangers in an artistic fashion (I love taking photos of people who think they “look terrible” in photos and providing them with an image they really appreciate).
- Event photography allows me to capture memories for people.
- Live band photography provides me with an extremely challenging environment in terms of lighting and composition to cut my teeth on.
- Macro/Product photography allows the perfectionist in me to shine.
- Every day photography allows me to capture and share memories or moments that are special to me.
I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that, haha
On advice for those who want to get into photography:
When you’re first starting out, it’s all about mentality. If you’ve got the right mindset you’ll continue to make time for it. In the process of making time for it, and maintaining the right mentality, you will progress. But for a small pathway suggestion:
- Get out there and shoot
- Make some friends in the community
- Don’t be frustrated, be better (in the sense that frustration comes from a lack of obtaining a result you were hoping for, 90% of the time I’ve been frustrated in photography it is due to my error, which I am able to fix by identifying what I did wrong and learning how to correct that issue)
On the story he’s most glad he shared on Vocal:
I think my second article is my favourite, I copped a fair bit of flak for it online, but I stand by it. It is the first “proper” blog I’ve ever written, and I’d wanted to do some for of blogging prior to that for a while, so while there is definitely room for improvement in my writing, I’m still glad I took that leap, and I stand by the message in the blog, that mentality matters most.
Don’t think about it—first thing that comes to mind:
What is one thing you couldn’t live without? My glasses.
Cats or dogs? Dogs.
Go-to late night snack? Noodles.
What’s a movie that you could watch over and over? Not a movie, but Rick and Morty.
If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go? Anywhere with great culture.
If you could speak a new language, what would it be and why? I’d love to be more fluent in Auslan, my best friend went deaf through her childhood. While she can still communicate vocally and lip read, it’s a huge mental strain. And I also think that back home in Australia we don’t do enough to support/include/communicate with our deaf community.
Favorite story you read on Vocal? I really like “Is Auto-Exposure Good?” by Harrison Galgut - I like the mindset he has written the article with and it contains very relevant content.
What’s your favorite Spotify playlist at the moment? Sad Lofi Boy.