Pardee's Picks: The Art of Clay Enos

September 27, 2012

Photographer (and super human) Clay Enos is featured in this month's special Halloween issue, but even if we devoted the entire magazine to his art, photographs and stories, it wouldn't be enough. If you asked him what he did for a living, Clay would most likely just giggle and say "I just take photos and laugh and eat and enjoy life!" The "enjoy" part is the part that I find most inspiring about Clay. He LOVES his work. And he LOVES people. And he LOVES life. And because of that, I love HIM!


In addition to working commercially, and shooting on-location photos for huge movies like Watchmen & the upcoming Superman, Clay is a dietician, a personal trainer, owns the Organic Coffee Cartel (insert link: http://www.contrabandgoods.us/ ) and travels around the world helping out families and communities simply in exchange for the opportunity to meet anyone and everyone along the way. Given all of this, I actually find it a little ironic that Clay is PHOTOGRAPHING Superman instead of actually portraying him.


Director Zack Snyder said a few nice words about Clay in the current issue of Juxtapoz, but below he expands a little more.

–Alex Pardee




"Sometimes there is a harsh, unglamorous reality to the art of capturing images and creating illusions. Art is inherently hard. Art is even harder when it has to be created in the wake of, or in tandem with, another’s art.


That is the complex artistic relationship Clay and I have. Clay is the stills photographer that I entrust with capturing the journey taken each time I shoot a film. Clay is a master of his trade. Gifted. Focused. He’s a force to be respected when it comes to his ability to wield a camera, the results always captivating and beautiful. Equally important is his presence; he is perpetually happy, genuine and sincere when interacting with those who find themselves on the opposite end of his lens. Part photographer, part philosopher, all talent, I trust Clay to navigate the complex landscapes of my film sets with great skill. He’s always one to tread lightly, a ghost, never disrupting the flow of the set. Yet somehow, despite the never-ending obstacles in his creative path, he always succeeds in finding amazing light, interesting angles, and most importantly, the perfect moments. I relish in watching Clay make his art in the most inhospitable of environments. Whether cleaving off the materials required to create a makeshift backdrop on a film set, a transient photo studio created on the fly without a moment of hesitation or braving busy streets around the world convincing strangers to have their portrait taken for his Street Studio series, even navigating the endless country roads of America capturing countless photos of life and humanity encountered on his recent Vespa Journey, Clay loves a challenge. Opportunity trumps convenience in his world. Clay once slept in cardboard box so he could capture an image of the first post-apartheid ballot in South Africa. He’s passionate about his art and resourceful in his approach. A nimble craftsman not intimidated by the adversity presented to someone in his position by the often-unaccommodating world. He embraces the challenge, always making due and never making excuses. I believe it is his diverse experiences that make him so unique when he is on my sets. He is a non-traditional set photographer. Clay’s time spent on movie sets is just the most recent stop on an already amazing journey. The paths previously traversed serving to enriching his artistic pallet while also preparing him for the ever-present obstacles ahead. Resourceful and efficient, he finds ways to make it happen, when all odds are stacked against him.


Sometimes there is a harsh, unglamorous reality to the art of capturing images and creating illusions. Art is inherently hard. I consider myself fortunate in that I get to make my art in tandem with another’s art."


–Zack Snyder, Director