David Clarkson

About David Clarkson

In 1965, while serving in the Marine Corps, a friend loaned his camera to me. From the moment I held it and shot a few rolls I somehow felt a connection, a then uncertain joy. After the service I attended CSULB, graduating with a degree in Philosophy. I continued to make photographs and soon converted our bathroom into a darkroom. I was hooked.

Over the next forty years, my family followed my corporate career, living on both coasts and, for an extended time, in the Midwest. After graduate school and a career managing manufacturing businesses that limited my photography efforts, I now devote most of my time to making photographs, a joy no longer uncertain.

Artist’s Statement

Photography reconnects me to my beginnings and who I once was. My Midwestern family and friends included blacksmiths, railroad men, barkeeps, farmers, industrial line workers, and clerks. Few had educations beyond high school. These folks worked hard and stayed close to their birthplace.

I was one of the few that left. However, fifty years of the Marine Corps, university, and corporate life gave me the feeling that I did not belong, loosed from the moorings of my past and uncomfortable in a new life. I traded the familiarity of a small town for the anonymity of the city. Either can kill the soul. Both can provide comfort.

Unfortunately, one cannot go back.

Modern urban environments reconnect me to the folks with whom I lived, loved, and laughed. The settings differ, but the players are much the same. Everyday people leading everyday lives crowd these streets. If I cannot return to what once was, I can at least use my camera to get closer, to somehow make a connection, however fleeting.

With my corporate life complete, I am free to walk and make photographs, while exploring today’s hectic cities, among those who feel familiar to me.

“Perhaps instead of standing at the river’s edge scooping out water, it’s better to be in the current itself, to watch how the river comes up to you, flows smoothly around your presence, and forms again on the other side like you were never there.”                  Photographer Paul Graham


Exhibitions & Publications

2018 A Smith Gallery, Johnson City, TX.  One photograph in Street.  Juror – Harvey Stein, International Center of Photography and Director of Photography at Umbrella Arts Gallery, in the East Village of Manhattan

2018 Griffin Museum of Photography, Boston, MA. One image in annual juried membership exhibition, Juror – Richard McCabe, Curator of Photography, Ogden Museum, New Orleans

2018 Harvey heMilk Photo Center, San Francisco. Surrounded by Reality, curated by Michael Kirscshner, Jim Watkins, RE Casper, Dennis Englander, Dave Christensen

2018 – Frank Bette Center for the Arts, Alameda on Camera, Alameda, CA. Selected as one of 48 photographers for a 48 hour shoot in Alameda, including an exhibition at the gallery. Juror Stephanie Williamson

2018 PhotoPlace Gallery’s juried exhibition, Capturing the Light. One photograph in the gallery exhibition. Juror Laura Moya

2018 – Best Photo Presented by Through the Lens & Harvey Milk Photo, San Francisco. One photograph in the gallery exhibition. Juror and Curator Kristi Lewis

2018 – Los Angeles Center of Photography, Fourth Annual Street Photography Around the World Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA. One photograph in the gallery exhibition. Juror Gus Powell

2018 – LA Photo Curator – Street Shooting. One image in this online exhibition. Curated by Julia Dean

2017 – F-Stop Magazine – Street Photography, issue #86. Four images in this online ezine. Curated by Christy Karpinski

2017 – New York Center for Photographic Art – Patterns and Shadows, One image with Honorable Mention. Juror Stephen Perloff

2017 – Street Photography Magazine issue #55, featured artist including front page and audible interview.

2017 —Darkroom Gallery, Pathways and Passages, Essex Junction VT. One photograph in gallery exhibition. Juror Stephen Perloff.

2017 Center for Photographic Art, 2017 Members’ Juried Exhibition, Carmel CA. One photograph in online exhibition. Jurors Elizabeth Corden and Jan Potts

2017 —Darkroom Gallery, Street Wise, Essex Junction VT. One photograph in gallery exhibition. Juror Bruce Gilden.

2017 — Redwood Shores Library Gallery, The Volunteers, Redwood City, CA. Four photographs in gallery exhibition. Curated by Marty Springer

2017 — Center for Photographic Art, Image Makers: 20 Years of Creativity, Carmel CA. One photograph in gallery exhibition. Curator Helaine Glick

2017 LA ArtCore, 1st Annual Photographic Competition and Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA. One photograph in gallery exhibition. Jurors George Simian, Richard Vogel, Brian C. Moss, Karen Hampton, and Jeff Alu.

2017 Los Angeles Center of Photography, Third Annual Street Photography Around the World Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA. Three photographs, two in the gallery exhibition and one in online gallery. Juror Craig Semetko

2016 – Harvey Milk Photo Center, eXposed, San Francisco, one photograph, Jurors Dave Christensen, Gordon Szeto, Matt Osborne, Grant Rusk, Dwayne Newton, Roxanne Worthington, Jennifer McFarland

2016 Center for Photographic Art, 2016 Members’ Juried Exhibition, Carmel CA. One photograph in gallery exhibition. Juror Heather Snider

2015 Los Angeles Center of Photography, Second Annual Street Photography Around the World Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA. One photograph in the gallery exhibition. Juror Matt Stuart

2015 Inspired Eye, Edition #19, March, one of the featured artists 

7 Comments on “

    • Thank you, Jim. I browsed your work and really enjoy your craftsmanship. Well done, especially the platinum pieces. I live in Monterey, CA. Due to the legacy of so many towering BW artists I have the privilege of seeing their work every day, including several p/p photographers. Think Kerik Kouklis. Where do you live and work?

      Thanks for looking and the kind comment.



  1. Dave I only knew you in your corporate life and had no idea you had this talent. Congratulations on your success and achievment of your passion and pleasure.
    V. Paul Gahagam


    • Thank you, Paul. I have had a camera somewhere nearby since I was 18. Of course, work often prevented me from using them for long periods of time. I built a professional darkroom and studio in our Sidney home. Unfortunately, our move forced me to sell or giveaway all of the equipment, including some beautiful cameras. I changed to digital equipment when we arrived in California, and I have all the time I need to make pictures. Thanks again for the compliment.

      I have not yet posted the news that another photograph of mine is going to an exhibition in Essex Junction, Vermont for a show beginning August 17 through September 10.

      Best to Wilma – Cheers.


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