Patrick Clarke is an architectural and interior photographer based in Hackney who specialises in promoting the capabilities of his clients via his visually striking work. While studying for a degree in Interior Design at the University of Arts, London, he was introduced to the Ad Hoc Guardian Scheme by a fellow student. Patrick spoke to us about his work and how it fits in with the Guardian Scheme.
Your work is in architectural, interior and exterior photography. Can you give some examples of the type of jobs you do?
I am freelance and currently work closely with the Capital Group of Brixton Hill who have been market leaders in providing services to estate agents since the mid 80s. Their clients are predominantly agencies who specialise in the sale of high-end property in central London. This work involves shooting aesthetic images of building exteriors and interiors that place the property in the context of its location and position in the market.
I undertake commissions from builders, developers and interior designers, supporting them in documenting their most recent projects for web and print. I also love heritage architecture and have established an ongoing relationship with the National Trust for Jersey providing them with professional photographic services on a voluntary basis.
How did you come to specialise in this type of photography?
From a child I loved experimenting with photography; an interest that later lead me into employment in photography retail. Some years after, while studying for my degree in commercial interior design, I became excited by the thought of combining my new skill-set with a longstanding passion. After graduating I returned home to Jersey, Channel Islands, and set up my business as a professional photographer.
In your work for the National Trust for Jersey, what is your favourite place that you have photographed?
A property I photographed for the NT4J by the name of Bellozanne Abbey is my favourite to date. Inhabited by the same family since WW1 and full of interesting artefacts from world travels. The owner had died five weeks before my time spent there and there was a tangible sense of her life around me.
Does being a guardian have an impact on helping you with your work? Would you say there’s something of a guardian community?
As a freelance my income can fluctuate and therefore maintaining lower outgoings works to my favour. The majority of my work is at locations within zones 1 and 2 and being a guardian in Hackney helps to minimise my travel time and costs. I lived in a community of guardians when I first returned to London in 2014 which I found supportive whilst I was building my client base. However, now I am in a single occupancy unit and I have less contact with other guardians.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
During the busiest months of the year the daily challenge is to approach each individual project with a fresh eye and produce quality images that reflect unique characteristics and marketing potential.
On your website you say your aspiration is ‘Enabling the viewer to see beauty in the pedestrian’. How do you do that?
I am visually driven. I have been told by my clients I have an ability to frame an image in such a way that exposes the inherent beauty of a subject which may otherwise be overlooked by a casual spectator. I believe I achieve this through careful observation, recognition and translation through composition and use of light.
As someone who is visually driven, which photographers or visual artists would you say you most admire?
Mostly I am inspired by architecture, and the vision of the architect…for example Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright and Antoni Gaudi, who took his inspiration from nature, an inexhaustible resource.
Your job spans heritage architecture to modern. What defines great architecture to you?
Firstly, architecture should serve the purpose it was designed for and should stimulate as many of the senses as possible. There are times when modern architecture must respect the context of its surroundings and others when it may boast like the new kid on the block.
From your portfolio it’s clear you have travelled a fair bit with your work. Where has been the most inspiring place that you’ve visited?
I love Barcelona. It is a city that oozes and embraces architectural diversity, from Medieval, Gothic and Modernism through to the post-Olympic regeneration and current explosion of futuristic builds by globally renowned architects. BCN’s exuberance and freedom of self-expression resonates with and feeds my creative vision.
You can see more of Patrick’s work at caiphotography.co.uk