Capturing stories, building connections

Bill Clements’ Photography

I remember the moment I first fell in love with photography: It was the summer of 1984, just after I’d graduated from Columbia and a year after my Dad had died, and my Mom wanted to get out of town on her summer break from teaching and so the two of us traveled to Europe. We brought along a little Kodak Instamatic 100, more out of a sense of duty than love. And in Edinburgh, Scotland, one day, we were walking in the Queen Street Gardens around sunset and it was beautiful, breathtaking. I started to take a couple shots and was looking around and suddenly I saw a castle reflected in shadow on the grass and I had to get the photo. I remember Mom thought I was a little crazy, because I spent a long time moving around this disappearing shadow and trying to photograph it. I didn’t succeed in getting a good shot, but I was hooked on trying to capture images with a camera. For good.

I first set this photo page up three years ago and am now getting back to adding fresh photos, of which I have a ton.

I hope you enjoy.

I love this photo because of the look captured on my Mom’s face–serene, intense and proud with a hint of sadness.
Mom and my step-dad, Bud, and I ventured to Old St. Pat’s Church on the near westside of Chicago for Christmas morning mass, to listen to Nicole sing. Nicole is my god-daughter, Mom’s oldest grandchild–my sister Katie’s first-born. And Nicole is a gifted musician with a beautiful voice–Nicole is beautiful through and through.
Half-way through mass I turned my Sony A7R2 camera (fitted with my trusty Zeiss 50mm F2 lens) toward Mom, focused on her and snapped off 7 shots, trying to be discreet–I was in church, afterall. This particular photo jumped out at me right away, and so I cropped it in until Mom’s face filled the frame. I just love her expression, and the way Bud’s chin, neck and chest seem to be cradling her face, providing a wonderful frame for this portrait. Sometimes when shooting photos you just get lucky.

One part of my photography fun the last few years has been heading out at night with my friend and fellow photographer, Phil Ward, to capture shots around the Twin Cities. Phil is a chef (he and wife, Karen, run Black Cat Natural Foods and during the summer every Saturday are selling their yummy food at the Mill City Farmers’ Market, of which they are a founding vendor), as well as a limo driver. And while driving he seeks out the best locations around the cities, places we can take powerful photos. He’s a master at finding spots, which sometimes include a little work to get to.

Here are some of the best of those from the past 2 years.

Here are a selection of photos I’ve taken the last few years.

Here a “senior portrait” shot I had the pleasure to do for my nephew, Ian (otherwise known as “Mr. Lucky”). We had a blast, even though the night in late October (2017) grew pretty cold and Ian’s ears and cheeks went cold-red.

In August of 2015, my brother Mike, and I (I’m the bald, gray one…) visited our family farm in Springfield, Kentucky, one last time. The farm had been in our Dad’s side of the family for nearly 100 years, and the next year we finally (and, on my part, somewhat reluctantly) sold it. That former tobacco farm was (I’m sure still is) a beautiful place. Mike and I had a great time down there.

In June of 2016, I visited my hometown of Chicago (as I do several times a year) and stayed with my buddy, John Holden, at his place in the northside Edgewater neighborhood. On one of the days John and I walked to the lakefront, near what’s now known as Kathy Osterman Beach, and all off a sudden a storm came flying in and the sky blew up into these incredible reds and oranges. I couldn’t take enough photos for the maybe 20 minutes the sky was at its most amazing.

Here are my photos from a great evening in the spring of 2015 at our friends, Kevin and Marion, down the hall from Julie and me in the downtown Minneapolis condo where we used to live. During this evening, I discovered (sort of a funny story–part of a much larger story) I had an umbilical cord hernia, for which I had surgery in June 2015 …


Below are from the May 3, 2015, Minneapolis May-Day Parade …


Here’s the group of photos from the visit Julie and I made to the St. Paul Art Crawl on Sunday, April 26, 2015…


In the spring of 2015, my wife, Julie, and I went there and joined my sister, Katie, and her husband, Randy, and my Mom and Bud in traveling to Toronto in the spring of 2015 to watch Katie’s daughter, Annie, in her final play at the George Brown School, a three-year acting conservatory. Annie had the part of Anna Karenina in a version of the greta Tolstoy story. We didn’t realize we would but we also were there for the graduation ceremony for Annie and her colleagues/classmates. Not only did Annie put in a really good performance as Anna K., but she won one of a couple of awards handed out (together with a check!)–her award was for being an outstanding ensemble member, which fits Annie’s personality perfectly.