Doug Clement, VHS 1980 Night Photographer
by King Lee, VHS 1959
There’s a reason why Doug Clement’s brilliant, self-taught photography is mostly done at night. For about four decades, he has worked nightshifts (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) in the Empress Hotel’s maintenance department, so a lot of his opportunities occur as he travels back and forth to the Metchosin home he shares with wife Mitoki. “It’s my life,” said Doug, who has become one of the most recognized local photographers on Facebook or Instagram. He says he mostly walks around and if he sees something, he takes his always-handy camera out and shoots the photos.
If you’re on Facebook, do yourself a favour and follow (4) Doug Clement Photography | Metchosin BC | Facebook His page has 30k followers, and 22k Likes. His photos are inspiring, each one a work of art, and can be purchased in various formats.
Doug, 49, was born in Victoria to Pat and Andy Clement. He attended Margaret Jenkins Elementary School, Central Middle School (where he joined the photography club), and Vic High, graduating in 1978. He was 10 or 11 years old when he first became interested in photography and videography.
As a youngster, Doug was also interested in painting and working with clay but that became impossible after he developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a common condition that causes numbness, tingling and pain in the hand and forearm. Up until then, he had enjoyed art at Vic High with teacher Michael Hemmings. “He knew I had the talent,” Doug recalled. But said his choice of subjects (usually science fiction) wasn’t necessarily the teacher’s favourite. Doug’s school interests shifted to carpentry, boat-building, and metal work at Fairey Tech.
He remembers “almost” going to the graduation dance at Vic High but never quite getting there because of what could almost be called a riot. Doug said that as they were about to go into Vic High for the dance, someone threw a beer bottle at a passing police car and the “riot squad” showed up and prevented anyone from entering.
His first big photographic break came while he was at Vic High, August 8,1977, when he watched and filmed as Ogden Point docks burned to the ground. The dock area was filled with newsprint and lumber, and the blaze could be seen as far as Port Angeles in Washington state across the then-Strait of Juan de Fuca. Thousands of onlookers gathered to watch the spectacle. The next year, at age 18, Doug was the photographer for Victoria punk/metal band Day Glo Abortions.
His climb to online notoriety came about 10 years ago when, very early one morning, Doug noticed fog creeping up a nearby hill. He wondered if it could be photographed and the next day, he bought a $500 camera and experimented. The shots came out so well that people on social media began to take notice of his photography.
Three months later, he took shots of a lightning storm which appeared on Shaw Cable, CHEK-TV, CTV and Global. “My camera was always around,” said Doug. He loved the fact that, with digital cameras, trial and error was easily available to him.
He has stopped photographing weddings and is concentrating on producing calendar photos which are sold across Canada and locally at Munro’s Books. Doug estimates he has taken 500,000 to a million photographs so far. “It’s a love,” says Doug, “it’s something in your heart.”