CHATHAM, NJ - When professional photographer Glenn Clark moved to Chatham nearly seven years ago from Florida, he instinctively felt that he had to change the style of the shots he took.
"Moving to New Jersey, I had to reinvent how I offered my service," Clark said. "I used to shoot more scenes and still life. Now I gravitate more to faces and people. I seek out emotions and expressions and people in their environment. I'm trying to tell a story about someone, their unique work environment and how they fit into the community."
That was the challenge that Clark gave himself when he set out to tell the tale of the Coronavirus pandemic and the people who worked every day to provide essentials for his Chatham neighbors.
"It was a case of wanting to come up with a way to highlight the people who were sacrificing their time and their safety for the benefit of others," he said. "A way to kind of shine the light on these people who are working while we're at home.
"First responders and health care workers were getting a lot of thank you's and notoriety, but I wanted to highlight the people that first responders go to when they need something. First responders count on the people I wanted to showcase somehow."
People like Paul Ness, the longtime Chatham resident and auto mechanic; Joe Arminio and his crew at the Chatham Sandwich Shop; Oscar Mejia, the owner of Bikeland; Kim Taylor of T.M. Ward Coffee, ShopRite worker Dan Conlan; third-grade teacher Denise Gangaware; mail carrier Al-Nisa Oglesby, and Liberty Drug pharmacist Al Brown, to name a few.
"I wanted to give my photography in an effort to thank those who served the community," Clark said. "There was some fear and trepidation. I learned that they did it because they felt they needed to be there. They didn't look for thank you's. They didn't seek out pats on the back. They did it because they knew their neighbors needed it.
"It wasn't easy at times to get the photo because you had to go into their workspace, and they're not the type of people who seek the attention. I had to convince them that they deserved it."
Clark is known around Chatham for the remarkable sports photos he captures that appear on TAPinto Chatham and other publications. He inherited his connection to sports from his father, Joe Sr., who was a standout three-sport athlete growing up in New Jersey. Joe Sr. went on to become the athletic director at Plymouth State and, later, a Master PGA professional.
"I grew up with my father's work ethic," Clark said. "He was the best athlete I've seen anywhere and I've been around professional athletes. At the age of 60, he could beat anyone at racquetball or squash. It inspired me."
One of the first jobs Clark had was as a groundskeeper on the family-owned golf course in New Hampshire. He recalls driving a 1955 Willy Jeep at the age of 12 to get around the course.
"It was hard work, but once I finished, I could practice and play," he said. "I started winning and playing more golf."
Clark was recruited to play golf at Florida Southern and went on to compete as a professional golfer before teaching the sport for 12 years in Florida. His wife, Mary Lynn's job prompted a three-year residence n Singapore, where Glenn transitioned from golf to photography.
"In golf, I always did video analysis, so the connection was there," he said. "When I was in high school, I had my own darkroom at home. I loved the process of taking a picture and seeing it develop and having the image."
The 56-year-old also has a great appreciation for the image of community that he's been exposed to ever since he moved to Chatham with his wife and two daughters, Lauren and Lena.
"The people of Chatham are genuine," he said. "You can count on the people here compared to other areas that I've lived. People are educated around here and they look out for each other. It's not like that everywhere. It's almost too nice. You appreciate that when you have it. People here communicate with their neighbors. We noticed that and we appreciate that."