October 31, 2014
Traveling from Place to Place.
Itinerant. Stated simply: to wander.
Robert Clarke-Davis is a
photographer. He wanders every day
harvesting the visual gifts that many
may see as banal. Mr. Clarke-Davis
is a procurer of images.
Mr. Clarke-Davis is always in a state
of digression. It’s refreshing.
Conversations with Mr. Davis are
always an invitation to take a
Socratic Stroll: To take a meandering
musing with a friend. A friend old or
new with Mr. Clarke-Davis
sometimes it can feel like both at the
same time. A conversation with him
can last five minutes and cover
massive amounts subjects or it can
be an hour on the constant
impending death of film in
photography. He is a generous
conversationalist, and one of his
strongest qualities as an educator.
Mr. Clarke-Davis has been and
educator at the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago (SAIC) since
nineteen ninety. He has educated
young artful minds at SAIC longer
than most of his current pupils have
been alive. Students that take to Mr.
Clarke-Davis’ teachings and
reflections commit to his courses
multiple times. This can be attributed
not just to his awkward charisma, his
extensive knowledge of photo
processes, but also to his active
critical understanding of
contemporary art and it intersection
with the Photograph.
Mr. Clarke-Davis is a masterful self-
editor in his work, that is to say he
knows how to select the images and
information his audience needs to
know. His titles often hint to outside
of the “Art World” as he often states
when speaking about titling his
artwork. They are pointers, clues and
both significant and secondary all
congruently. His work can be
described as autobiographical, but
that would be avoiding greater
conversations; we are all in a state of
wandering thru life.
His work is Personal with a capital p.
It’s accessible by any one who has
the privilege to encounter it. To
experience it is know a part of Mr.
Clarke-Davis, and by extension know
oneself. Yet in order to see a print by
Mr. Clarke-Davis it’s a precursor to
know Mr. Robert Clarke-Davis. He
has a web presence, but it doesn’t
come close to being in the presence
of him. That experience is both
Personal and personal.
“I always try to find out things thru
my work not prove things with my
photos.“ Mr. Clarke-Davis
photographs his experiences and it
is after that he formulates a concept,
comes to terms with his exploits, and
produces handsome prints in a very
unique presentation. Photo
Monographs that have simple clean
creases and folds on beautiful
papers, photographs with succulent
blacks, sheep white highlights,
sumptuous grey tones, clean
compositions, and text laid down
with the gentle caress of a surgeons
optic dialogue between Mr. Clarke-
Davis and his recipients or
“collectors”. In his very passionate
diction both declares and stammers
“I don’t give my work to someone
that does not know me” “it is a
conversation… I chose my audience
my audience doesn’t choose me”