Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Michael Clark: Master Of Adventure
From his New Mexico base of operations, Michael Clark is a global photographer whose clients have him chasing swells, climbing mountains and braving the elements. In a down economy, Clark is having a banner year.
"The wingsuit base jumpers," Clark continues, "there were three guys, they jumped three times, and I had one second each time. I'm not a base jumper. That's one of the world's most dangerous activities, by far. And these guys have 17,000 jumps each. They're basically the best base jumpers in the world. The art buyer is there, they've spent $30,000 or $40,000 to get things in place, and I had nine seconds for that entire photo shoot. They had to get air under their wings within five seconds or they'd crash into a ledge, and then they immediately had to make a left turn. They're doing, like, 150 mph within five seconds. Due to the technical nature of it, they only did it three times each for three jumpers—one second each jump before they're just a dot in the canyon. I had two cameras wirelessly set up so that every time I shot at 9 fps, I was getting three times as many pictures."
I would say that my success as a photographer is definitely directly related to the effort I put into my profession," he says. "Passion, and the energy created therein, is definitely an important part of my work. I work my buns off. That's something I learned early on, something instilled in me by my parents. You've got to work harder, be more efficient and have more creative work than anybody else out there if you want to make it.
Clark certainly appreciates an adventure, but there’s no way he was jumping off a cliff. He knows from personal experience—hanging by a literal thread over a canyon floor—that cheating death is no fun. It’s simply terrifying.
"I was fairly nervous," he says, "and still am every time I get on a rope. I've fallen into quicksand, been hit by a giant boulder falling off a cliff that could have ripped my upper torso in half, but glanced off my back somehow... I've probably had six or seven of my nine lives used up, but that's just part of it. It could happen walking down the sidewalk."
Asks Clark, "Have I pushed the envelope? Not me. If somebody dies, it kind of negates the fun factor. You gotta know what you're doing, 100 percent.
To see more of Michael Clark's photography, go to michaelclarkphoto.com.
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