Uncovered: From Cairo, IL to New York, NY
The 1950s Photography of Clarence A. Wilkins
Born in 1938 in Cairo, Illinois, Clarence A. “Nick” Wilkins bought his Argus C3 35mm camera for $75.00 in 1951. A self-taught photographer, Wilkins and his friends joined the Cairo Camera Club in their early teens.
It was in small-town Cairo that he adapted the acute attention necessary to form his lifelong love of film photography and news film editing, over the years refining his own visual and conceptual vocabulary that emerged early on.
In 1956, at the age of 18, Wilkins along with best friend, Donald Alvey, boarded a Greyhound Bus to NYC for three months of training at a radio/television school as they desired to work in Los Angeles in the film industry.
Subsequently, Wilkins landed a job as a film editor at owned and operated NBC affiliate, WKYC in Cleveland in 1962. As an editor for the local news, The Today Show, and the NBC NIGHTLY NEWS he covered stories from Pennsylvania to Michigan to West Virginia. Wilkins won an Emmy for his film editing in 1973. His most famous assignment was the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa in 1975, where he spent months in Detroit while they searched for Hoffa’s body.
His work is versatile, covering portraiture to street photography in B&W film and Kodachrome. With the recent success of Vivian Maier and a street photography revival, daughter and founder of CPR, Shari Wilkins, decided to exhibit her father’s work.
This show, Clarence A Wilkins: Cairo, IL to New York, NY features Wilkins’ photographic work during his most prolific years; the 1950’s. His black and white photography in this exhibit is silver gelatin prints hand-printed by Halim Ina and James Matthews. His Kodachrome slides have been digitally scanned and professionally printed so as to emphasize the rich colors present 60 years ago.