Kim Clune’s Wild Ride

1988 Kim in Fredonia

“Your blog must have a specific niche,” critics say. And mine did, for a time. But I cannot fit into somebody else’s box any longer. Hell, I can rarely fit into my own. Now my vast and varied obsessions are hung on the menu line for all to see. So here you have it, thanks to a somewhat atypical life. Here’s where it all comes from.

Behind the Blog

MEAGER BEGINNINGS: I grew up with my father in Point Breeze, just south of Buffalo, NY, with short, occasional stints to visit my mother in NYC. Your typical high schooler, I snuck out nightly for beach keggers, nasty cigarettes and to hang out with bleeding-heart musicians, writers and artists. This continued until my father eventually, in an effort to wean his only child, threatened the options of college… or waitress shoes.

REDIRECT: In 1988 I studied English at SUNY College at Fredonia. Suffering from the parental threat to “teach or starve,” I turned in 1991 to the dark side of graphic design and graduated with an Associates Degree from Erie Community College. I was then sentenced to serve four years stripping (the handling of film and layout IN ART, you piggies) for Buffalo’s Waterfront Printing.

1998 Captain KimREDIRECT: In 1997 I bolted, traveling the world as a Continental Airlines international flight attendant. Japanese temples, Peruvian markets, Shakespeare tickets in Stratford, Ecuador Carnival, Quito’s political street riots, Italian Espresso and Da Vinci sightings were part of my daily routine. This glamour can be yours too for the small cost of… yep, waitress shoes.

REDIRECT: Dating a rock dude (using flight passes to follow tours yet failing to “keep him honest”), I was inspired to independently educate myself in web design and public relations within the entertainment industry. My one-woman company, AtticFox Design, was officially born in 2000, although it had been an operational sideline since 1998. My first client was Rykodisc Records representing the (now defunct although occasionally reunited) Ominous Seapods. All of this was made possible thanks to the recommendation of Johnny “Z” Zazula, the man responsible for discovering Metallica. (I met the guy only once but he seems to be a great judge of talent.)

REDIRECT: Rocker Dude and I landed in New York’s Capital District after being evicted from our illegally rented apartment thanks to a New Jersey zoning law. September 11th occurred two months later. Then we broke up.

REDIRECT: I witnessed the WTC attacks in person from the window of an FAA hijacking class. The last trip I flew was on September 18th, 2001, returning those English families stranded in Halifax, Nova Scotia back to Birmingham, UK. Upon my return to US soil, I accepted an unpaid, company offered leave… for several years.

REDIRECT: Downsizing apartments six times in six years and selling my stuff to eat, I landed in a rickety farm house in Rensselaerville, NY. There I adapted to the constant shift of temp work as a:

  • Lab Assistant – counting insects in leaf litter for an ongoing salamander study at the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve
  • Dung Beetle Harvester – picking bugs housed in a crusty pile of their own poop off willow bushes in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine
  • Farmhand – wading knee deep in chicken shit over the course of two weeks… all for $30
  • Summer Science Camp Assistant – cracking the whip on a dozen 11 year olds famous for smooching in bathroom stalls, sleeping with the fishes (a favorite bedtime prank) and sinking rafts
  • Rensselaerville Art Program Assistant – Filling in as needed, I glued my fingers together more efficiently than the children I worked with
  • Wildlife Presenter – This began and ended when I displayed 3 screech owls, otherwise known as “Messengers of Death,” to the Elders at the Iroquois Indian Museum. I was asked to leave and take my bad omens with me… but not before the crow tried to mate with me
  • meModel (of the clothed variety) – for painting and drawing classes at The Arts Center of the Capital Region
  • Commercial Extra – for the same Arts Center of the Capital Region
  • Remote Software GUI Developer – for the federal government offices of OMB and the BIA through CTACorp
  • Freelance PR Chic – promoting a variety of acts such as Paul Green’s School of Rock and Project/Object featuring Frank Zappa Alumni Ike Willis, Napoleon Murphy Brock and Don Preston. (Note: Ike Willis refuses to take interviews during “Matlock” and, every time I called Nappy, he was at the laundromat.)

REDIRECT: In the summer of 2004, Continental essentially said “shit or get off the pot.” I went through PTSD therapy and recertified within the same building where I saw the attack. The company greeting began:

“Welcome back! As flight attendants, you are the last layer of defense between a terrorist and the cockpit. Who can list seven items on board the aircraft that can be used as a weapon?”

Training ended with distribution of the Employee Assistance number… in the event that you turn to booze or drugs for occupational therapy. Ill prepared to perform daily bomb sweeps over morning coffee, or smash wine bottles to slice a suicide terrorist, this job was no longer for me. I was recertified and resigned within the same week.

I dissolved my design company and enrolled at Albany, NY’s College of Saint Rose. There I revisited the derailed dream of earning an English degree while tutoring politics and literature. In April ’07 I was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. In October ’07, the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies scouted my post titled “May Paradise Look Nothing Like Disneyland and published it in Vol 4-3, alphabetically inserting me between the BBC and New York Times while entering my name into the ISSN catalog for eternity. And, in 2008, my research on Ideological vs. Factual Reality in The Last King of Scotland was published in the Journal of Undergraduate Research.

As2006 Kim Clune on the History Channelide from school, I received an education in “life & coffee” while working part-time at Slow Jed’s Mud House, earning “Bonehead Move of the Month” for hopping into a customer’s car I believed to be my own. In June ’06 I made my film debut on the History Channel. The 13 part documentary on the Revolutionary War captured a few glimpses of me throughout 5 episodes posing as both a middle and lower class colonial woman. I was hopeful for the Oscar but, unlike the rest of my life, that would probably be outrageous.

2006 Wedding DayA PERSONAL BEST: After a three year courtship, truly a success, Tim and I were married in June 2006. He is my love, my best friend and my rock. We still live in that disgusting honeymoon phase, more often than not, so beware of spouting romantic drivel.

In May ’08, I graduated suma cum laudi. Having worked hard for every semester’s 4.0, I earned the stack of Dean’s List awards now collecting dust in my closet. I was also awarded the Outstanding Senior Award and the Professor Swaminathan Award for earning the highest grade point average of my class in English Literature. (I am of the firm belief that actually I earned the latter because I was able to pronounce it.)

REDIRIECT: In the midst of papers and exams, and a cruise to Alaska, I spent the year preparing to volunteer in Africa through Village Volunteers. From July to August, I worked in Have, Ghana at EDYM Village, an organic farm that teaches the community how to preserve the Weto mountain range while strengthening economic resources through sustainable farming practices. I also helped to prepare the Have Community Library for service and delivered 70 pounds of supplies to the children at the RC Primary School. You can see a video of my visit with the children.

REDIRECT: Coming home from a life changing experience in Africa to a crumbling American economy, I shelved my degree along with my Dean’s List certificates and resume. I began writing and designing a quarterly newsletter for Village Volunteers, beefing up their new website plans and learning the ways in which social media can promote an organization I truly believe in. I was eventually contracted as VV’s Print and Social Media Consultant, working long hours for peanuts on a 3 person payroll, determined to expand the reach of this good work as much as a one person PR army can.

This gave birth to Mixed Media Matters, my newest company which originally offered blog and web design services, newsletter design, WordPress consulting and, as a Jane of all Trades, any other odd internet job folks need.

REDIRECT: Putting my love for all things web and volunteer related to use, I started an animal activism site called Be the Change for Animals and founded a rescue called Dog House Adoptions. My wish was to begin and share my love for these projects, passing the torch through a line of inspired volunteers. What I found was that, but for a rare few super humans, volunteering isn’t as contagious once the lead role is handed off.

REDIRECT: Mixed Media Matters becomes home to Kim Clune Photography.

After tapping my toe into shallow depths of the photography field for years, from capturing memories to inciting activism, I finally drank from a magic fire hose. Graduating from what I call my Composition Obsession (shooting solely automatic), I switched to manual and crammed like a school girl the week prior to my niece’s Burning Man wedding. In the harsh desert dust, I stared down every lighting challenge through my nifty-fifty lens and shot it, then prayed I’d nail the most heartwarming and unique event I had ever witnessed. A day later, my face was awash with tears of relief. And then my crash-course love affair with editing began.

The greatest reward of all? I had stumbled upon a skillset that made people ridiculously happy. Photography is now more than my greatest passion. It is an obsession that has overthrown my desire for all else.

ytkkimMy first juried show was called “Displayed” hosted by The Art Center in New York’s Capital Region. One of three pieces was selected. Two months later, I was offered a show of my own at The Enchanted Florist in Albany, NY. Katherine Wright, my greatest mentor at YTK Photograph, then hired me to capture weddings and, shortly after, I was one of 400 out of thousands invited to join The Arcanum, an online global apprenticeship program, where I studied with Master Wes Hardaker of Captured on Earth Photography. Since then, I’ve cut my teeth on the sweet movement of light through video and studied conceptual shoots under Joe Oppedisano, whose edgy style and flare for story has graced the covers of Vogue and ad campaigns spanning nearly every high end brand in existence.

NO MORE REDIRECTS!! I have finally found my calling and this magical realm keeps expanding as I build tremendous friendships and experience some of the greatest adventures of my life. Keep watching because it just gets better all the time!!


  • Goodreads: where I obsess over books
  • LinkedIn: where my professional resume lives
  • Facebook: where I network with people I know personally
  • Twitter: where I network with everybody
  • Google+: where I wish I could spend all my time
  • YouTube: Where I share moving things that move me