From photography to writing to teaching to collaborating, Tracey Clark has found a way to weave all of her passions together, both online and in real life. Author of Elevate the Everyday: A Photographic Guide to Picturing Motherhood, co-author of Expressive Photography: A Shutter Sisters Guide to Shooting From the Heart, founder of Shutter Sisters and co-founder of Our Collective, Tracey loves nothing more than to share with others the insights and inspirations she’s gathered along her creative life’s journey.
She’s a regular columnist at Digital Photo Magazine, a teacher for many photo-centric classes both online and off and her images and essays have been featured in numerous digital and printed publications. Tracey lives in a sunny So Cal coastal town with her husband and two daughters and emphatically believes that perspective—and love—changes everything.
1. What’s your medium of choice and what do you love about it?
Photography is definitely my favorite creative tool. Although I do love crafting and creating art in many different ways, photography offers such a unique kind of instant gratification. I was never very excited by what I created with other mediums, like painting or printmaking, because I had difficulty pulling things out of my head and getting them to translate on a canvas or on paper. But when I started shooting, I was (finally) loving the end result. I could see the glimmers of poignancy and beauty EVERYWHERE and I really enjoyed framing what I saw and creating art using what was right in front of me. And for me, seeing—the kinds of things that I like capturing in a photograph—is like breathing; involuntary and totally necessary.
2. What are you working on right now? What’s on your camera/desk/easel or in your studio?
I don’t have any one specific creative project I’m working on but I almost never do. I’m a dabbler. A little here, a little there. Sometimes that habit of being busy with lots of project distracts me from focusing on one particular thing but most of the time, I thrive with a lot of creative projects on my plate. I’ve always been like that. Scrolling through the images on my DSLR (or my iPhone) there are shots of all kinds of things; mostly spring blossoms, my dogs, my kids, lovely bokeh and a few coffee mug shots.
3. What practices/activities are most valuable to your creative process?
Anything that gets me out of my head and into a more grounded, centered place is essential to my creative process and my life in general. Fresh air. Nature. Walking. Yoga (of which I don’t do enough of!). Writing in my gratitude journal. Setting intentions. Lighting candles. Puttering around the house. Even cleaning sometimes can be a respite when I’ve been working on my computer too much. Getting grounded and grateful not only makes it more satisfying to shoot, it is reflected in my work.
4. What’s one thing you want to share with others about your art and/or process?
I’ve realized I work well with “assignments”. It’s fun to have a project or prompt to shoot for. It helps get my creative juices flowing. Of course, it can’t be something I’m dreading, it needs to be something I’m super-excited about. But, truth be told, I have had some pretty amazing creative results (breakthroughs almost) when I’m pushed past my comfort zone (and sometimes I do dread that) so I try to remember that through resistance comes unexpected surprises and even blessings.
5. What advice would you give to your young artist self?
I would tell myself that I was right! I knew even when I was young that I would do *something* creative with my life, even though I had no idea what it would be at that time. Amazing how wise that was of me, way back then. I would give myself lots of kudos for all the creative work I was doing and I would give myself lots of hugs and high-fives. I would for sure tell myself to stop being so hard on myself and build self-care into my routines. I would also tell myself to listen to my mother. She always reminded me, when I was feeling down or out of sorts to “do my art”. Wise woman! I hope my kids can say the same thing about me when they’re adults.
Inspired by Tracey?
Want to know when the next sketch is posted?