When you meet Gordon Clark, nothing about his demeanor lends itself to a man who has photographed and filmed war, not just from the war zone, but in the very heart of it. His ease in his own skin is contagious but deceiving. A consummate observer and listener, Clark is an analyst of the human experience. Clark commits himself into the heart of such things.
When filmmaker, photographer, and master storyteller Gordon Clark finds subject matter, he immerses himself in it, not just for a day or a season, but for years at a time.
Clark started his career as a director of commercials for television and cinema, shooting close to 500 in a 14-year period. After the gloss of the commercial world began to wear, his desire to reconnect to his moral fiber challenged him, bringing him to the space in which he now likes to live and work. Logistically speaking, that currently brings him to Joshua Tree.
His impressive list of international photographic exhibitions and cinematic awards, speaks clearly of his passion and commitment to his craft. The stories he tells are riddled with seemingly hopeless lows but are brought to optimistic plateaus through a visceral light in his lens that is uniquely Gordon Clark’s.
“Staying in the Game,” Cape Flats Township: This documentary and collection of still shots entitled, “Becoming Big,” are the culmination of a nine-year research investment. Clark spent these years in the deadliest, crime ridden, and poverty driven parts of South Africa. Cape Flats is home to over 500,000 “Number” gang members. Here, Clark documents the life of five-year-old, Quintino, from the age of 5 as he navigates life in the flats until he earns his way into “The Game” by way of the 28s, one of the most ruthless gangs of the area.
“Who Am I?” This incredible body of work was a collaboration with artist, Leon Botha, who at the age of 4, was diagnosed with the rapid aging disease, progeria. Here in these works, spanning over four years, Leon’s inner story becomes a beautiful work of art, one he was able to tell from is own perspective through Clark’s lens.
“Sand in My Blood” filmed in the desert at Landers Brew, is where Clark’s camera finds local musician, author and artist, Sean Wheeler, creating a brilliant vessel of impact for Wheeler’s song. This is an impassioned music and spoken word performance that penetrates the bones of anyone who grew up on the downside of the rich versus poor dichotomy of the Palm Springs desert. While Wheelers full throttle delivery cuts you with, “Why, I am the greatest! Yes, I’m second place. If you saw it coming, could you still call it fate,” featured songstress, Bryanna Evaro’s voice, soothes as it floats in and out of the piece. Find this video masterpiece that so aptly portrays the “Swamp cooler reality,” of the desert at https://youtu.be/1XNTV17V1bI