Interview by Melanie Wolfe
“Sometimes I love the peace and quiet of a beautiful sunrise in a forest,
other times the emotion on people’s faces or the excitement of a concert.”
The Spectacular World of Darren Clarke
Hi Darren, thank you for allowing Inigo Online to showcase your work. You are a talented photographer and we are honored to feature you and your work.
Darren: Thank you, it’s very flattering to be asked.
Melanie: First, tell us some basics about yourself.
Darren: I live in one of the very outer suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, just at the edge of a beautiful forest. Leanne and I have three young sons who keep us very busy.
Melanie: How did you discover photography?
Darren: I dabbled a little in photography when I was in my early twenties and spent many hours in a darkroom processing my own photos. But it wasn’t until much later that I really got the photography bug. Eleven years ago my wife and I were given a hot air balloon flight as a wedding gift. We spent our honeymoon on a romantic balloon flight, and I took about 300 photos on a cheep little Kodak camera. I’ve never been the same since.
Melanie: When I look at some of your people photos, they have this ethereal vibe to them even though they are real and it feels like I have left this reality and gone beyond and connected with the soul of your subject matter. Do you do that on purpose? And how?
Darren: Wow what a compliment, thank you. I feel photos of people should give you an insight of who that person actually is, what’s going on, how they are feeling. I try and tell a story through photography. How? I had to give that some thought because I don’t really do it consciously. People can tell when the are looking at a photo if it’s a fake smile, or someone is pretending to cry. You have to try and make it real. If you want them happy make them laugh, if you want them sad get them to tell you about something sad that happened to them.
Melanie: Have you always been interested in photography?
Darren: I’ve always had an interest in visual art to some degree. As far back as I can remember, I have sketched. I painted portraits with an airbrush for a while. Photography was just kind of a natural progression from that.
Melanie: What are your favorite things or people to shoot, and why?
Darren: I actually don’t have a favourite as such, it depends on my mood at the time.
Sometimes I love the peace and quiet of a beautiful sunrise in a forest,
other times the emotion on people’s faces or the excitement of a concert.
Melanie: I feel as if I am hearing and connecting with the subjects in your animal photos. Tell us, what are you trying to capture when you photograph them?
Darren: With my animal shots I approach them the way I do my people portraits; I want the viewer to feel a connection with the subject, to realise what a precious, beautiful, world we live in.
Melanie: Do you think you see something through the lens that others don’t see?
Darren: We live in a world where we are so busy that we forget to really look at our surroundings. I think the only thing that’s different about me is I’ve taught myself to be very observant; the way the light reflects off a spider’s web, or the way someone’s eyes look when they smile. Most people only notice that when they see it in a photo or painting.
Melanie: What do you hope your work communicates to your audience?
Darren: That we live on an amazing planet and beauty is everywhere. I have taken some creepy photos in the past with people wearing gas masks; that was about ‘look after the planet, it’s the only one we have.’ If I can evoke an emotion through an image, then I feel like I have taken a good photo.
Melanie: Any advice for someone thinking about photography?
Darren: Do it, it will change your life. It doesn’t matter what sort of camera you use, or even how good the photos are. When you really start looking closely at the beauty of the world around you, it changes your life for the better.
Melanie: Where can people go to contact you or follow your work?
Darren: You can find me at a few places online…