NYC Photographer Taylor D. Clark is a Huge Fan of Stepping Out of Her Comfort Zone

Taylor Clark is a young, feisty NYC-based photographer. When I first met her, she very eagerly laid down in the middle of a busy street to take a photograph of me. When bystanders scoffed at her bravery; she brightly replied, “The photo was absolutely worth it!” Clark recently took a giant leap outside of her comfort zone, packing up her bags and going cross-country to bask in the views of the West Coast. Clark has managed to create quite the network for herself, full of creatives who are incredibly eager to work with her and are in love with her work. I recently sat down with her to discuss how she got to where she is today and how she’s grown as not only a photographer, but as a person. 

Lithium: Tell us a little bit about the trip you took this past year. What made you decide to uproot yourself and head west?  
Taylor: Last year I was living in New York photographing strangers and friends alike, but in the middle of the year one of my very good friends reached out to me and asked if I would like to move in with him in California. I didn’t even give myself a chance to think about it, I just said yes . . . I grew up always going on roadtrips all over the East Coast but never managed to make it out West, so why not take the chance and live in a place I’ve never been to? I was so unprepared but so willing and ready for what the West Coast had to offer. I gave myself the chance to figure out who I was and what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life instead going to school and finding out the conventional way. 

Living in California was the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had. [I was] not only able to meet some of my very close friends, but also so many of the creatives out there whose talent inspires me beyond comprehension. The friends I made out there showed me so much love and beyond breathtaking views. It was truly one of the best decisions I could've ever made for myself in that year. I traveled with them all along the coast seeing as much as I possibly could. We couldn’t get enough! It was so intoxicating being around such inspiring people. All we wanted to do was live our best lives, and being with them made capturing every single moment absolutely euphoric. 

Models photographed by Taylor during her time in California 

Lithium: Did this trip have a significant effect on your personal outlook? 
Taylor: Going out there for myself made me realize how far I could push myself to be able to reach my goals [and] also showed me how much love this world has to offer.

Lithium: As I understand, you chose not to go to college right after high school. How did you come to that decision? Do you have any advice for someone who might be thinking about doing the same thing?
Taylor: This past year, I decided to not apply to college to give myself a life-changing experience . . . if I can change someone’s perspective even in the slightest about not going to school first and pursuing your dream, I implore you to go out and do it. Become the yes-man you’ve always wanted to be and put yourself in the eye of the storm. Believe me, once you’re where your heart desires, the opportunities that present themselves to you just by stepping out of your comfort zone are limitless. People are always going to try and drag you down and say you can’t do it, but just remember those same people are probably too scared to even try what you know you can accomplish. Just tune them out.

Lithium: Do you ever get scared or worried while on the pursuit of your passion? In other words, do you ever feel the pressure to “give in” and pick something more conventional? 
Taylor: I feel like pressure to give in and quit will always be there no matter what. [It's] in those moments of self-doubt [that you] truly see your innermost creative self come out, especially when you see others doing so much better in their lives. It's about proving to yourself and others that, not only am I going out on a whim to pursue an unconventional dream and passion, I’m also testing my innermost limits to be vulnerable enough to share myself [with] the world.

Lithium: What advice would you give to other people who want to pursue photography or any sort of non-conventional creative career? 
Taylor: Even if you feel like you have absolutely no one rooting for you or your dreams, I urge you to tell your story. Go out into this world and show everyone who your true self is. You’re the only one who can give your story justice.

Lithium: What goals have you set for yourself moving forward? 

Taylor: This year I’m finally back home for good, I have so many ideas that I’m dying to execute with the endless amounts of creatives in this city. I can’t wait to capture everyone’s genuine beauty . . . I’m so appreciative of how lucky I was to meet the people I did; without them, I would’ve never realized the effect [my photographs can have on] people [or] how they can] change the way people view themselves overall.

By Elysa Rivera

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