The “Dreamy, Ethereal Quality” in Rose Clement’s Photographs










At the risk of revealing too much, I have a soft spot for the natural environment. This is what immediately drew me to Clements’ work and the interactions she captures between the subjects and settings of her photographs. Having recently received her B.S. from NAU in Flagstaff, a place filled with the beauty of Arizona’s Ponderosa Pines, Clements’ eyes have grown attuned to the humbling effect that vast natural landscapes have when placed next to simple human affairs. There is an element of curiosity and light-heartedness that comes out, which I consider refreshing when juxtaposed with the inauspicious and foreboding traits commonly ascribed to nature by popular culture. Our films and books are filled with stories of characters who meet unfavorable ends due to the mistake of equating nature’s beauty with benevolence, yet Clement’s photographs show us that this is no mistake to make. The playfulness and curiosity invoked by natural settings is matched by the world around us.

I am a very dynamic person. I get bored easily and constantly crave change, but photography has always been a constant part of my life. As a kid, when my dad bought my family our first camera, I remember it was magical to me. I had always made art, but taking pictures was instantaneous. I could make something in a split second. Gradually, it changed the way I looked at everything, it was transformational. I’ve always been bad at explaining myself and talking is often very awkward to me, but photography is a way of communication that is effortless and natural. I graduated with my degree in photography this past May. I’ve been assisting for established photographers since then, and working on getting some exhibitions here in the valley before I make my next move.

I love that photography gives me the ability to change the way realities are perceived. It makes me feel like my camera gives me a supernatural power in a way, and so my work often has a dreamy, ethereal quality. I am also very inspired by people. I am very interested in emotions, reactions, and relationships between people– they fascinate me. Portraiture is definitely my favorite area of photography. Most of the photos I take involve people in natural settings, and my style often tends to be photojournalistic. I like the honesty and authenticity that spontaneous portraiture provides. I am always aware of a scene’s photographic possibility, always looking for the next shot. My camera is my third eye.

This quote from Ryan McGinley sums it up: “You have to be able to observe life as if you were a camera all the time, constantly looking at light and the way that things are placed and the way people hold themselves. You need the ability to see something in someone or something that no one else really sees and be able to bring that to light.

Rose Clements

View more from Rose at her website here

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