The Blog

Would be '79'

A young Burton Clemens

A young Burton Clemens

It's incredible that today would have been my dad's 79th birthday.  There is something so interesting when someone dies so young, 42, (also IN '79)that they are always remembered eternally young.  Other than the obvious reasons, I wish he was still here to see what he turned out to be.  It would give me a little insight into my future (if I'm around that long).  At 45, I'm beyond the age of my father when he passed away back when I was 9 years old.  Looking at the few photos I have of him is so sad for me the older I get.  Maybe it's because I realize now just how young he really was.  Maybe because I can relate what it would be like to leave 2 kids and a wife behind.

Me and my dad

Maybe because I don't know if I actually remember him, or just am I remembering stories, or a complete new person I've created in my head. . it's been that long. 

by Michael Clemens

20 years and counting

A good friend called me and said. . "I know it's last minute, but would you possibly be free tomorrow to take photographs of my girlfriends and I for our 20 year high school reunion"?  Well, I was able to do it, and it was minutes from home, so it was meant to be.  Then the tricky part was finding a place to shoot at the hotel where they were getting ready.  It was 7pm, so I was starting to lose the light behind the trees that surrounded the hotel.  I literally was sitting IN a fireplace outside by the pool in order to get enough distance to shoot with my long lens and not have these ladies (most of whom were wearing high heels) fall into the pool inches behind them.  I needed all the light I could get, and had to shoot into the sun to get the nicest background I could get. Because I was shooting directly into the sun,  I was getting flares all over the place.  I used what I had and grabbed a big pool umbrella and rolled it over to help flag off the sun from my lens.  I had JUST a bit of room left above the heads of the girls before I'd see an ugly umbrella in frame.  Photography is like a giant puzzle that you also have to juggle while balancing on one foot. . . . 

I love it! 


"Day in the Life" - Schroeder Family

Another "Day in the Life", another incredible family.  As a gift to his wife, Dad bought a "Day in the Life" photo essay for his wife for her birthday.   This was a jam packed, morning to night, event filled day.  I don't know how they do it.  After looking back at this book, and all the different activities, places and things, I'm exhausted! These kids were amazing.  So polite, smart, respectful to everyone, and smiles on their faces.  This day reminded me why saving these moments are so important.  They go by in a an instant.  The days are about "Go! Go! Go!", and by the time you have a moment to breathe, you get to start all over again the next day. 

shooting friends . . .

Recently, I've done a lot of shoots for friends.  It's truly one of the most difficult things for me to do for several reasons.

1.  I want every single image to be better than the next.  I want each one to be that magical kind that you hope for once or twice a year, except I was EVERY one to be that way.

2.  I want the family feel like they are doing it because they like my work, and not feel "obligated" because I'm a friend.

3.  I want them to take away from the shoot images that are going to be special for years to come.

Well, I received this email after delivering images from my latest "friend" shoot.

I'm speechless. . .



these surpass even what i had imagined they would be, and i pride myself on my imagination.

#1 i know you spent too much time on these.  i just know it. 

#2 location, light, lens are *such* good choices, clemmy, but it's your artistic hand that makes these moments in time so special.

wow.  i can't tell you how happy i am to be a part of my family in (some amazing) photos.

you know how it is....0.2% of my family photos have me in them.  i only wish i could return the favor to you...

you've given me and my family a very special gift.   these are legacy photos, clemmy.

you remember that photo of your grandma, or mom, or any other loved one...on the wall in your place growing up,

on your grandma's shelf?   my kids are going to have a few of your photos in their minds forever(!)

a photo of yours is going to be the one they remember hanging on their wall growing up.

you might have heard it from every person you've taken pictures of, but that's only because it's true.

you might think i speak in hyperbole (i've been known too), but i believe what i'm saying.

i was a big fan, but now i'm a true believer.

i'm no longer on the sidelines, i'm there.

clemmy, i can't thank you enough for sharing, not only your time with us, but your gift.

terp (and the other terps)

by Michael Clemens

Remembering Sammy

I was asked by some friends to take some photographs of their family dog because he was getting so old, they didn't know how long he would be around.  What I didn't know, is that they may actually be needing to put him to sleep.  Seeing this sweet old dog just tore my heart out.  We went outside to get some shots, and this poor ol guy stumbled and struggled just to get down one stair.  All of a sudden, a quick afternoon shoot for a friend became much more important.  This was going to be documenting a "family member" for possibly the last time.  I'm now possibly responsible for how he was to be remembered.  Pictures are said to be worth a thousand words, but after taking these, only one comes to mind. . . goodbye.