Robert Clements was born and raised in Western South Dakota near the Badlands. He attended the University of South Dakota, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been a working artist and photographer most of his adult life. He began making photographic journeys back to his native South Dakota to renew his relationship with the prairie after having run a successful gallery and framing business in Portland, Maine. Documenting the prairie landscapes during annual summer visits eventually led to the creation of Robert Clements Gallery, now known as Robert Clements Studio in Belle Fourche.
Clements’ gorgeous color images have an uncanny ability to deepen our understanding of the prairie by helping us notice the subtle beauty of what we frequently overlook. Singular trees, storms, fields, animals, and western history are all subjects he has explored in depth throughout Western South Dakota.
In addition to his personal photography, Robert is also an expert at the digital restoration of historical photographs, specializing in early photographs of the western plains. Please visit the studio at 501 State Street, Belle Fourche, to see a wide range of his photographs, paintings and sculpture.
“Anyone can love the mountains; it takes a soul to love the prairie.”
“This quote has been attributed to several people, including Teddy Roosevelt, Willa Cather, and an anonymous Nebraska sodbuster. Whoever first said or wrote it, I thank you. It resonates with me. Growing up on a farm/ranch consisting of large swathes of unplowed prairie grasses influenced the way I see, the way I feel, and my approach to my work. Out here, the sun, the sky, and the earth combine to create lights and shadows unavailable elsewhere on the planet. To learn to capture that subtle beauty is a privilege. I approach my work with a painter’s eye.”
Robert is one of 11 photographers from around the country whose work was honored in an exhibition about federal wilderness areas in 2014. The celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964, Wilderness at 50: Photographic Reflections on the Legacy of Tionesta Visionary Howard Zahniser, was hosted by the Crary Gallery in Warren, PA.
Read about it in the Rapid City Journal: