Concrete Inspiration Inside a Houston Photography Studio

Lifework

Photographer Clark Lara expresses his art by taking pictures of weddings in Houston, Texas, and the surrounds. See his studio space -- as well as what may be his most photogenic subject: his scene-stealing dog -- in this tour filled with modern Herman Miller designs (we spy an Embody Chair at the desk) as well as an impressive collection of vintage Eames and Nelson pieces.You started your photography studio in 2005. What led to that point? I started out photographing weddings in college. Several of my classmates did not see the "art" in shooting weddings, so they would turn those kind of projects down. I personally thought it was a great way to gain experience. I wound up contacting other photographers in the area and shadowing them as well. I talked with all types: a horse photographer (yes, that is a thing), studio portrait photographers, wedding photographers, press photographers with the Houston Chronicle, and even a crime scene photographer. Working with these different types of photographers helped me to find what I was good at.

I shot on the side for quite a few years. Soon, after getting tired of working outside sales for a mobile company, I decided to jump in feet first and see if I could run a successful studio.

Tell us what you're passionate about, what inspires you, and where you're going. Of course, I am passionate about photography; but deeper than that, I would say I am passionate about people. I want to give my clients not only great images but also a great experience. I always tell my friends that I want my clients to choose me because of me -- my personality and my work, not because I fit their budget. Inspiration for me comes from everywhere. Other photographers in my area inspire me, as do graphic designers and movies. As for where I am going, I honestly just want to keep photographing weddings and hopefully do more destination weddings.

Tell us about your space. Were there any special considerations that influenced its set up? What would you change if you could? My current space was designed with Eames and Herman Miller furniture in mind. My previous studio was a 100-year-old farmhouse that was designed for my clients' needs only. It was great and it had a lot of character, but I didn't feel like it expressed me as a whole. So when it came time to move, I knew I wanted all new (and some vintage) furniture for the place. The new studio is located in a warehouse/business complex. There are several other creatives in the complex, which helps with inspiration. I love the concrete floors, but do not like that I am the second floor.

Why did you chose these particular Herman Miller pieces? My first Herman Miller pieces were the four vintage orange Eames molded fiberglass chairs. I knew I wanted them at my meeting table. I love how the orange pops and how it reminds a lot of people of their old school chairs. My favorite is the Eames Storage Unit (I will never let that one go). It is very versatile, has plenty of storage, and is a piece of art in itself. And I like that I can move my Nelson tables around easily and rearrange the seating areas.

I knew I wanted original Herman Miller pieces and not knock-offs. I scoured Craigslist, garage sales, storage auctions, and business furniture liquidators. I chose these pieces because they function as art; to me, they are not just chairs -- there is a lot of nostalgia there.

(Images: Clark Lara)

lifework2012-02-22 at 2.10.00 PM.jpgRepublished in partnership with Herman Miller Lifework. Originally posted by Amy Feezor.

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