Ever since he was young, Elijah Clarke wanted to be in the spotlight. Originally it was as an actor, but when he bought his first camera in grade 12, photography became his path to the light.
A final-year creative media student, Clarke has the prestige of calling himself the only tintype photographer in North Queensland. Tintype photography is one of the earliest photography techniques, predominantly used in the 1860s. A single tintype photo is a time-driven process that requires the utmost of precision. Tin plates, which the photo is taken onto, need to be correctly sensitised so that they are light sensitive, the image is then shot and processed onto the plate all within five minutes; any longer and the image is discarded.
It’s a dedicated technique, Clarke travelled down to Melbourne, paying for all of his expenses, to learn the craft. His financial commitment, to what quickly adds up to be an expensive process, is testament to getting the most out of himself as an artist .
One of Clarke’s works that features in Mobius is titled Enterprise of Despair utilises this technique. Designed to examine careers which seem rewarding, at least on the surface, Clarke delves into the hidden darkness of each occupation, which include mental illnesses, depression and anxiety. It is evident these feelings are captured, the stoic eyes of the individuals hide a level of sadness.
Clarke’s other work a photo book, titled A Dying Feeling, contextualises death, illustrating positive and negative perspectives. Despite focusing on the theme of negativity, which is further pressed home by only black and white images, Clarke’s work manages to achieve his motivation, creating an impact with his work.
Balancing his commercial activities with both study and his own personal portfolio, Clarke attacks his setbacks with confidence. Aware that even the greats like Picasso overcome many hurdles, Clarke treats errors as learning curves, and finds solace in sleep, as many over his mistakes can come from exhaustion.
Clarke is hopeful that the attention he seeks to attain from Mobius will open up more creatively-free, commercial opportunities. Motivated by the desire to be impactful, the fuel which keeps Elijah Clarke working has him so close to achieving what he wants, will Mobius see him make that next leap into the spotlight?