Local Talent: Clara Wilson

Clara Wilson loves to tell a story.  Around the age of 12, she began to write short stories and poetry. Later in life, her artistic nature was drawn to photography as a way to capture moments with her children as they grew, then later to be able to revisit memories.  Wilson said, “My children are what sparked my true love of photography, and they also became my muses as I began to realize my love of photography as an art form.”

Wilson was in her late 30’s when she decided to pursue learning about the technical side of photography.  She went to Spokane Falls Community College for the Photo Arts Program. “I quickly fell into my genre and style of photography, and became known for work that was more on the dark, emotional side,” said Wilson.

Eventually, she began to see that her photography told a story that often mirrored what she had written years ago. Sometimes the writing would inspire the images, sometimes a series of photos would remind her of something she had already written.  Now, in several instances, she has melded the two mediums into a single narrative to tell a more complete story. Also a music lover, many of her photoshoots are inspired by songs she hears. On her YouTube channel you can view several musical slideshows of her work at dpgazette.com/clarawilson (Parental Guidance suggestion.  Although her photography and words are beautiful and striking, some of her imagery is dark in nature and may not be suitable for young children. )

Often her children are involved in her photo shoots.  Sometimes they serve as models; a photo of Wilson’s oldest daughter took 3rd place in an International contest with over 17,000 entries.  The achievement earned Wilson a place in Nikon’s Emerging Photographers Hall of Fame. Additionally, her son has created music for and helped in editing some of her online slideshows.  

Though she owns a photography business, Smoke & Mirrors, Wilson also is afflicted with chronic pain, and other ailments that have made it difficult to give the business her undivided attention.  Despite the lack of advertisement, to her joy, people do contact her for photography work. “That means they have seen my work and despite all the other photographers out there they have chosen me; that’s a good feeling.”  Her primary focus is on the conceptual art projects, but she does offer portrait sessions and is willing to do commissioned work.

When asked if she had anything else to add, Wilson stated, “Sometimes we lose ourselves in the ease of the cell phone selfie; we stop seeing who we truly are while creating an illusion of what we want others to see.”

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