The Art of the Personal Project: Clay Cook

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  Clay Cook

The Voiceless

When I was first offered the opportunity to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia I was really unaware of those problems and issues that plagued the city and the country as a whole. Due to famine and communist civil war, nearly 60% of Ethiopia, Africa is under the age of 18 and of that demographic nearly 100,000 children are completely homeless and suffer from tremendous injustice. Poverty, addiction, prostitution and disease. There is an extreme lack of leadership, parents and grandparents. It is a country of youth.

The NGO Youth Impact has blazed a trail for dozens of successful business men, architects, carpenters and artists. I knew our project would involve children who have struggled. Children who have stories. I wanted to tell their story the only way I know how, through imagery. I decided to develop a portrait series of both children right off the streets as well as adults that have grown through the Impact program. I wanted to bring the aesthetic of my portrait work blended with a journalistic mood. It was a humbling experience to photograph this community that has so much to say, but no voice. Hopefully, this series provides that voice that they so yearn to have. This is The Voiceless.

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.


Suzanne Sease

There Are 2 Comments On This Article.

  1. Wonderful portraits. There’s a thing about the background and the assimilation of it with the persons that adds more depth and a ‘backstory’ to these photos. Incredible! Will check out more of the grapher. Thanks.

    • Suzanne Sease


      Thank you so very much for writing. I was moved by these portraits as well.

      All the best to you!!