Clark Photography on the Rise

Daniel Macura, Contributing Writer

The past academic year has been a progressively professional one for Clark students photographers. The Worcester Art community has been flourishing with the photography of college students. Although student submissions are low currently, ArtsWorcester has featured more photography in their student exhibitions than in previous years, as well as awarding two honorable mentions to student photographers.


Two Clark students who became involved in the Worcester art community through photography are Sam Damon and Finn O’Driscoll, both of whom speak highly of the future of the Clark Photography department and the opportunities it presents to its students.


O’Driscoll, a second year Geography major, with a concentration in Urban Development and Social Change, and Damon, a second year Management major with a minor in Studio Art, were both featured in the student displays at ArtsWorcester and Contrast–––a WPI and Clark based photography competition that took place in December 2018.


“This was the first time these schools got people together through photography, in my college experience at least”, O’Driscoll explained. Professor Yoav Horesh, from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, traveled to Worcester to judge the competition and to contribute to an event that was inspiring event to the public and students alike.


When a student’s work is being presented to the public, it gives a strong incentive to work at the highest level you can. “College shows are huge, being open to the public only motivates and inspires students to achieve more”, Damon remarked. With plenty of opportunity being presented, it’s up to the students to devote themselves. As Damon claims it “makes you want to pick up a camera and do your own thing.”


It’s not a surprising occurrence that photography students are advancing so quickly, given the dedication and investment of the school and staff. Damon claimed that, “The work of the department head, Stephen DiRado, along with Frank Armstrong and Eric Nichols, has motivated me to dedicate myself to my work”, implying, that without a strong core of driven teachers, this department would not have the positive energy it does now.


DiRado highlights the dedication of the students and staff within the photography department, “We have a long history, 37 years of major devotion and commitment in photo at Clark. The classes have always been hugely popular. Many of our students becoming prominent professionals throughout the world.”


As for Clark Photography’s impeding influence in downtown Worcester, DiRado explained, “Many of our students have taken on professional positions throughout our city, teaching art in our school system, working as professionals in the commercial world and getting involved on political and social levels.”

One major component that aids photography students at Clark is the new photo and digital lab. With a new arts facility like the Traina Center, every resource a student could need is at the tip of their fingers.


“Clark’s new photo lab is comparable to International Center of Photography (ICP) in Manhattan, where I had taken a few photo courses before coming to Clark. It’s a major advantage having these tools accessible at my school, rather than having to go elsewhere”, O’Driscoll mentioned.


The Worcester consortium has offered opportunity for students all over the city, from twelve different colleges. Contrast has now opened the community’s eyes, by using a photography competition to bring Worcester colleges together. With more schools comes more competition, which is not a bad thing. “The contest gives you an idea of the competition and work being done within Worcester, it only drives you to be better”, Damon remarked.


Talk of the reinvention of downtown Worcester has been prominent throughout the whole community, especially those involved with the arts. As many residents await this new scene to Worcester, the students and businesses are the ones trying to make it happen. O’Driscoll proclaims, “I do sense the change in Worcester, and I think Clark has a major role that. Time will only tell, I guess.”