I had the great pleasure to spend time with Clay Cook at the recent International Photography Show in Vegas (WPPI). I was instantly struck with how young he is for such an accomplished photographer, as we sat down together for a Color Talk. Clay Cook has so much happening in his career and it’s not hard to see why he’s in such high demand. From commercial and editorial work, to high fashion shoots and Magazine covers, his style of photography is visually striking and dramatic.
His earlier years he spent designing album covers for bands and it wasn’t until December of 2010 that he received his first DSLR camera as a gift. To use Clay’s own words, “his love for photography blindsided him and began to snowball over everything in its path.”
“I began shooting all in sight, from people and animals to beautiful landscapes; I wanted to capture it all. I’ve been blessed to know many creative people from all walks of life and have learned to mold and shape my vision of photography through their inspiration. And, many late nights on YouTube.” Though based in Louisville, KY, Clay is on the road much of the time and his work has brought him to every single state in the US.
I asked Clay what role color plays in his style of photography and he had this to say – “Color has always played a crucial role in my work especially in the fashion industry and I have become known for my color grading. I’m a very manual color grader and will often tweak the colors in an image and then leave it for a few days before coming back to it to tweak it some more. Color accuracy and consistency is so important especially when printing my work. Since most of the work that I do is editorial and ends up in a magazine, I have to have the proper equipment and processes in my workflow. Using the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport and i1 color management solution ensures that what I capture in my camera translates well from my camera to my monitor and to print. I always make sure that my monitor and laptop are properly calibrated so that what I’m looking at on the screen is what I can expect the finished print to look like and there are no surprises for me or the client.”
Clay’s work has been published in USA Today, Modern Salon, American Salon, ProSales Magazine, First For Women Magazine, Kellogg Magazine, Louisville Magazine, The Courier Journal, TOPS Magazine, The Voice-Tribune, NFocus Magazine, MOUR Magazine, Louisville Bride, STORY Magazine and Dark Beauty Magazine and he works with NEXT Model Management, AMAX Talent, BMG Models, Sigal Models & Talent, Wings Model Management, COSMO Model & Talent Agency and Heyman Talent Agency.
Clay uses X-Rite Color Management solutions for color accuracy in his workflow.