At An Undisclosed Street Corner
Color Photography Contest2023
At An Undisclosed Street Corner
The photographic career of Bob Clemens has spanned more than 61 years, 25 of them as a staff photographer with the Eastman Kodak Company's Photographic Illustrations Department at the company’s headquarters in Rochester, NY. He retired from Kodak in June of 1989 after a quarter century of service. Today, looking back at his many years in photography he notes with satisfaction that he achieved his success despite having no formal photographic training and, in the early years, little encouragement. “My mother once suggested that perhaps I should consider another line of work,” he recalls with a smile. Following several years as an avid amateur photographer, his professional career began in 1957 when he was hired as a photographic assistant with Wesley Bowman Studio, a large Chicago commercial photographic operation. Following subsequent jobs at various other Chicago studios, he served for a brief time as a studio assistant at Playboy magazine before taking a position as staff photographer with the weekly Naperville Sun, an award-winning suburban weekly newspaper in his home town of Naperville, Illinois. He worked at the Sun for four years, introducing 35mm existing light reportage while covering civic, sports, feature, human interest and other local events and personalities. Robert joined the Kodak staff in 1964. Over the following quarter century he completed a wide variety of studio and location assignments, producing illustrations used in company magazine and television advertising, photography books, product brochures, audio-visual presentations, new film and other product introductions, and retail displays. Eleven of his pictures appeared in Kodak's mammoth New York City displays, the 18 x 60 ft. Colorama in Grand Central Station and the 50 x 30 ft. Kodarama which overlooked Times Square. Assignments took him to 10 foreign countries as well as many locations within the U.S. His varied subjects included three American presidents (Nixon, Johnson, and Reagan); three World's Fairs; the first World Track and Field Championships in Helsinki, Finland; helicopter views of Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty; a 700-year-old cathedral in Sens, France; the Panama Canal; the National Championship Air Races; the second Reagan presidential inauguration in the Capitol rotunda, and many collegiate and professional football and basketball games. After retirement in 1989 he returned to Kodak service twice as a contract photographic specialist, representing the company to summer visitors in Acadia (1990) and Yosemite (1991) National Parks with slide shows, talks, and hands-on demonstrations of photo techniques. He won two medals in the 1990-91 Nikon International Photography Contest. In May of 1996 he was named as the grand prize winner of the CompuServe Information Service nature photographic contest, winning a trip for two to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. He and his wife took this journey in April of 1997. His current photographic activity is centered on using his computer in conjunction with a digital still camera and an Epson photo-quality inkjet printer to create new non-film images as well as working digitally with scans of his existing archive of film landscapes and other pre-digital work. His prints have been exhibited three times in Rochester’s Image City Photography Gallery, including a special show in August 2009 where eight of his images were shown as part of a portfolio display by ten local photographers. One of his landscapes was awarded a $500 first prize in October 2009 in a weather photography contest held by the national newspaper USA Today. A selection of his overall work can be seen at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/2-robert-clemens.htm. Robert, 90, was married to his wife Bernadette for 66 years until her death in 2021. They have two sons, Christopher and Tod, plus four grandchildren. In addition to his continuing interest in photography, he enjoys building and flying free flight model aircraft and studying WW II and aviation history and lore.
Photographic Areas of Focus
Landscapes, People, Photojournalism, Street
United States of America