Washington, DC November 20, 2013- Cory Clark gave up his home and the paying aspect of his career as a journalist more than a year and a half ago in order to go out on the streets with his wife and partner Dani Finger in order to be able to tell the story of those who live in poverty from a person perspective.
Clark has written one book and numerous articles, which have been published internationally and in several languages. He has exhibited his photographic series titled " A Chicago Story, ' at the Henry George School and Mugshots, both in Philadelphia in the months before leaving on this project.
"We knew we were taking a huge risk with this and that it could even mean our lives, but we felt that in order to accurately depict the life and struggle of the poor in this country we had to do it from their perspective, it was the only way we would truly understand, and it was the only way we could really get others to understand what it's like to be in poverty on a visceral level," said Clark about their decision.
Clark's photographic work has an interesting duality to it, that brings to focus both the individual and the mass at the same time, to have been taken in the past while clearly being modern, even in the way in which some of his pieces are black and white, with specific things left in color.
"Although I'm taking a photograph of a group of people, my focus is always the individual or individuals in the group, I'm trying to create a connection to the past for people, because the struggles that our society is enduring now are in truth the same struggles we've been enduring since the beginning of civilization, it's always been for the same thing, freedom, equality, human needs, it's also been against the same enemy of the human spirit, namely those who presume authority over each of us, that presume themselves to know better how to live our lives," said Clark.
The work currently being displayed at The District Gallery tells the story of struggle through three very distinct lens, taking the viewer from the depths of poverty, into the struggle for poor communities to assert their liberty and demand equality, into a depiction of abuse of power and the need for a revolution in every aspect of the human experience.
"I had to pull from several series to tell the story I wanted,which is the struggle of poor people for human dignity, freedom and equality in a historically racist and oppressive country, even today the burden of racism is still crushing poor black and Hispanic communities, there's a reason that the majority of the poor in this country are found in those communities," said Clark.
Clark has photographed many protests over the past several years, both as a journalist and an artist, his aim is to be able to make much of his work available to poor communities.
"I want to empower people and communities to stand up and take their freedom, demand equality in all aspects of their lives, and meet the needs of their communities themselves,rather than depend on outside forces which can never truly represent their need effectively and have historically failed them," said Clark when asked why he would take such a huge personal and financial risk.
"I know there is no half way in this,we will either succeed or die trying, we gave up everything to do this and we have endured every sort of humiliation possible, discrimination, exposure, and physical violence of every type, because it is that important for people to know the violence, their apathy allows to exist; as well as, to dispel the myths about the lazy poor man that those in power have been shoving down people's throats for centuries," continues Clark.
Clark and his partner intend to use the two shows they have over the next several months to pull themselves off the street, write several books about their experiences and finish a documentary about poverty and homelessness from the perspective of those who endure it. They intend to secure other gallery shows and exhibitions for their work.
"We'll get all of these things done whether we make money on these shows or not, we know our work is powerful, but we also know that people are afraid of the truth, we don't care if they want to hear or see what we have to say or not, we do our work for those that do, and for those who have a burning need to have their story told and their lives understood," said Clark with a determined look in his eyes that told me they will succeed and possibly be the next big thing in the art world.
I'm looking forward to seeing Dani Fingers exhibition of " What i learned at Camp FEMA, ' beginning December 7th at The District Gallery, 4912 Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue in Northeast Washington, DC.