Robert Clark, photographer extraordinaire

by | Apr 20, 2016

Robert Clark—an award-winning photographer for National Geographic and other major magazines, who’s just published a book, “Feathers: Displays of Brilliant Plumage”—recounts key milestones of his career, including starting to shoot as a young kid, later winding up as a staff photographer Feathers flat coverat the Philadelphia Inquirer, then leaving that paper to join his Inquirer colleague (and Pulitzer winner) Buzz Bissinger in a project that became a little book called “Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream.” Clark charts his professional path from Odessa, TX (the location of Permian High School, whose Grey_Peacock_Pheasant_III_revfootball team is at the center of “Friday Night Lights”) to New York City, where he relocated afterwards and began working for National Geographic. Some of those National Geographic assignments—which, he explains, initially tended to have an emphasis on science, paleontology and archeology–spurred his interest in feathers, notably including “Feather Evolution: The Long, Curious, and Extravagant History of Feathers,” written by Carl Zimmer, author of The New York Times’ weekly “Matter” column, and who wrote the preface of Clark’s new book. Clark explains what fascinated him about feathers, how the publisher, 150218_Encenitas_Trip_01362-Cockatoo_revChronicleBooks, proposed the idea for “Feathers,” and how he determined a structure and set of guiding principles for the images included in the book. This veers into enthusing about the work of Charles Darwin, very much including Darwin’s efforts in breeding pigeons as a way to test out his then-developing theory of evolution—and the important role biologist Alfred Russel Wallace played in helping Darwin advance his work, as a long-distance collaborator. Clark touches on other topics, from the likely audience for “Feathers,” to the state of photography in journalism. Photos by Robert Clark. (,




ALSO: I spoke briefly with Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, the Tampa non-profit educational sanctuary that houses abused and abandoned big cats, who offers some observations about the incident days earlier in which a tiger killed his keeper at The Palm Beach Zoo.(

COMEDY CORNER: Paula Poundstone’s “Cats Puff Up” (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle”


Listen Online Now:


| Open Player in New Window

Sign up for Updates

Get weekly updates about upcoming shows and events!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Talking Animals. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Archives by Date

In Memoriam

Otis McGarr
(Nov. 1989 – Jan. 4, 2006)

John Taylor
(Sept. 29, 1961-Aug. 20, 2011)