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[Clay Enos]
Clay Enos has wrinkles on his face from smiling. Born in New York City, he equates his home with a small town. Fueled by chicken-rolls and burgers, Clay is a trophy-winning hula-hooper, traffic-dodging bicyclist, and spring-footed pedestrian. Having crisscrossed southern Africa and hitch-hiked from Bogota to Brooklyn, Enos doesn’t deny his wanderlust. He holds his camera together with gaffer’s tape and somehow finishes every shoot mysteriously injured. Clay can keep a secret, roots for the underdog, puts his friends first, frequents Yosemite, prefers dark chocolate, collects rusted metal relics and listens to NPR. He encourages napping and is trying to teach himself piano.

Q: Tell us about your artistic aesthetic
A: My aesthetic, when it comes to portraits, is one of simplicity. I like to engage the person directly. I like them to know they are being photographed and to explore their gaze. I am fascinated by the beauty to be found in regular un-retouched humanity. I am humbled to be able to photograph them.

Q: Tell us how others describe your work versus how you see it?
A: I think other people get my work. It's not exactly complex. What surprises me is the enthusiasm with which it is received. It is a pleasure to inspire people with something as simple as a street portrait. It is twice as satisfying when people see the folks around them anew because they paused a moment to really see.

My response to these portraits isn't very different. I love making them and I love sharing them. My only burden is choosing the best photograph to show out of the dozen or so I often take of each person.

Q: We would like one story/example of obstacles you have overcome or
are currently struggling with.
A: I am dumbfounded by the tunnel vision of book publishers who have refused to pick up the New York Streetstudio work. 20,000 portraits, easily the largest portrait collection in the history of New York, and I can't get in the door. I've been told by publishers that "no one outside New York cares about New York" and "no one buys a book with New York in the title." Basically, if it doesn't have sex or celebrity, it doesn't get made. So be it, I have hundreds of visitors a day to my websites from all over the world. That's just fine with me.

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