Jack Clarke is an MA student, studying Production Management for TV, Film and Digital Media. He has a determined passion for film and art that is second only to breathing.
I caught up with Jack and we discussed photography, his MA course, his hopes for the future and most importantly his advice for you guys.
I started by asking him about an exciting breakthrough in the photography world…
Your photography has just landed you a professional feature, tell me about that?
I was just starting to get my photography work out there, on both my website and Instagram. A friend shared a prospective new magazine, that was accepting submissions entitled ‘OVERTHINK Zine’ which combined both my love of philosophy and creativity. I spent two weeks working on the concept and production for a submission, I honestly didn’t expect to hear back but, when I did, and I saw that they wanted to feature my work….I quite literally felt breathless.
What’s the story behind the photography that will be featured in the issue?
I like to express myself in whatever I do. Art and expression to me are reasons to keep going. So, the story behind the photography had quite a personal touch, but one I think can relate to anybody.
I was heavily inspired by the works of Francis Bacon. I aimed at exploring self, but more importantly the emotional representation of self over the period of lockdown. Lockdown for me has been an existential time of deep introspection.
For each of these images, I wanted to portray how myself emotionally had shifted over said period and the violent, sudden, and timeless transgression of reality. I could say that this is representing me coming to terms with my own worth, emotions and self in an isolated setting, where we are forced into reflection and deep thought. Who am I? That was the question I constantly had orbiting my mind.
What inspires your work?
There are many great artists and thinkers that I have been fortunate to have been exposed to over my life so far. If I wanted to name drop and be specific: David Lynch; Salvador Dalí; Francis Bacon; Emil Cioran, and Andrei Tarkovsky are some of my biggest creative influences.
Whilst it is important to have these figures of reference and inspiration, I also counter that and actively encourage people to find inspiration within themselves and take a step back from all the noise in the world. I find that some of my best ideas come when I am going on a quiet walk in a forest, solitarily reading a book, or even just taking ten minutes to ponder a passing thought.
Are there any particular statements you want to make with your work?
I primarily want to open people’s minds to deeper intellectual discussion and question how we perceive life. I do this through abstract, personal, and philosophically blended photography, taken with a caption that is often posing either an open statement or question to the viewers of my work. I don’t want people to just flick down their feed and pass my images…no, I want them to be stunned, inspired, confused and pondering, all at the same time.
Can you tell me about your MA course?
The pandemic had made me uncertain towards the future of the arts as an industry when things first began, and I was lobbed like a grenade into the outside world upon completing my undergrad.
I had eyes set on a taking an MA, and my heart was in the world of Production Management. For most people, it’s all the boring and laborious admin work involved in production, though for me, the core sense of achievement and importance in the role of production management I have found to be unparalleled, and the challenging work it provides is something that drives me personally, and creatively.
The course so far has been largely great in giving me the resources and knowledge I need as a successful Production Manager, and the part-time flexibility gives me so much freedom to explore and refine other creative pursuits.
Has the University of Salford encouraged your creative practice?
Most definitely, networking, I think, has been its most promising area. It can be very anxiety-inducing to get out there and meet people, but Salford gave me the environment and skills to exhibit myself, alongside my creative work. Before coming to Salford, I can say I had the fire and the passion but lacked the discipline and order to keep myself level. When I sit back and look, to have reached this interview is a considerable milestone to how far I have come since I started.
What are your career hopes for the future?
My long-term aspirations are to eventually be a producer down the line, working my way up the ladder, hands-on and involved deeply in all stages of production. I have big dreams for Manchester to become an art epicenter for film. I want the spirit of Manchester to be represented on screen, to be just as recognizable as New York is to the cinema world. I think Manchester has some fantastic talent, some of who I have worked with, and sadly I see a lot of this talent give up way too early. I want to be able to provide opportunities to young creatives, in the same way opportunities have been presented to me.
What advice would you give to fellow creators looking to start out in the industry?
I have the mindset that everyday is a day to learn, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes, own them, learn from them, and listen intently to those in positions above you. I no longer see the pandemic as a negative to my career, and that is because I have adapted its negatives as a creative engine to adapt my craft. For example, if you can’t do something because of restrictions or other such unforeseen circumstances, think creatively outside the box and experiment with what you have got, as opposed to waiting or hoping for what you might get.
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