By Otha Barham
One day Kye Clearman, of Collinsville, sent a CD to the Outdoors Editor of the Meridian Star that held a few photographs of wildlife. We let Clearman know that our tight budget didn't provide for paying outside photographers for their work. It didn't matter to Kye, he just loved shooting photos of wildlife and thought others might enjoy some of his images.
None of us, including Clearman, can remember exactly how long ago that was, but we are guessing seven years. From the beginning, we told Kye that his photos were good enough to be sold to publications such as regional or national magazines with which we were familiar. He kept giving his work to the Meridian Star and kept us amazed at the fantastic shots of deer, ducks, bears, small mammals and birds and other wild things.
Over and over, year after year, we suggested by telephone calls that Kye submit his work to magazine editors. Several years passed before this writer even met Kye. As suspected we found an unassuming, quiet, slightly built fellow with not a sign of inflated ego. His demeanor and speech bespoke kindness and unlimited patience. Here was the perfect human to lie motionless in the hot sun and damp, insect infested weeds for a wood duck to turn just so to offer a breathtaking image for the rest of us to enjoy.
We sent him names of editors that we knew would be interested in his works. Still, he continued to inspire readers of the Meridian Star with photos of area wildlife. Finally, in May of 2009, this writer submitted a coyote article to a regional magazine that included photos by Kye Clearman. The images readily sold. Kye's check for the photos was just enough to convince him that his work held value for him. He submitted photo lists to editors and began to sell regularly.
Kye Clearman now has professional status as a photographer, much like his friend and writer on this page, Mike Giles, a multiple award winner with his own wildlife photographs.
The latest measure of his success is Kye's photo of a wild turkey gobbler appearing on the cover of the new 2012/2013 Mississippi Outdoor Digest. This booklet contains information on Hunting and Fishing Regulations and many aspects of these activities and is available at outdoor supply outlets statewide. Some 375,000 copies are distributed to nearly every outdoor enthusiast, all of whom will enjoy a photo by our very own Kye Clearman.
Clearman's photo will appear on the cover and one month of the Sportsman's Calendar which will be included in the November/December issue of Mississippi Outdoors magazine.
These prestigious publications usher Kye Clearman into the ranks of Mississippi's finest wildlife photographers, including such men as Paul T. Brown, Joe Mac Hudspeth Jr. (whose deer photo was on last year's cover of the Outdoor Digest), and Michael A. Kelly.
Congratulations Kye, and on behalf of the Meridian Star and its readers, thank you for sharing so much of your fine work with us.