Ah, The Clermont Lounge. We all know it, love it or are at least curious about it. After all, it's an Atlanta landmark. Unchanged since it opened its doors in 1965, The Clermont has attracted visitors both near and far as well as has given them all stories to take home. What they haven't been able to take home, though, is photos. The venue has held a strict "no cameras" policy – until now. Our friend and writer Dana Hazels Seith along with photographer Artem Nazarov and designer Ryan Wood were given an all-access pass to document the legendary Atlanta dive, creating the artfully produced, conversation starting coffee table book No Cameras: The Clermont Lounge (available here). Here's a little peak at Dana's experience: So owners Tracey Brown and Kathi Martin commissioned you with this idea? Will you tell us a little about your reaction to such an interesting project? Had you known them previously?
I heard they were looking for someone to document their story (visually and with text). I was overwhelmed at first, both with the subject and just agreeing to such a tremendous task of spearheading: Finding a publisher, conducting interviews, researching, writing. I never met either Kathi or Tracey (or been inside the Clermont Lounge) prior to my role in the project. They are both amazing women and I’m proud to call them friends.
This was a collaborative effort as you worked alongside photographer Artem Nazarov and designer Ryan Wood. Have you working collaboratively before during your career as a writer? What was your experience?
I have worked collaboratively before, but never to this degree. Going from concept to book form is a massive undertaking and I’m grateful I was naive enough to go for it with all I had, but writing is just one component of what made this project. Photography from Artem and design from Ryan (both whom PC Press, my publisher, provided) completed the bigger picture, so to speak.
It must have been quite the adventure having an "all-access pass" to such a landmark/slice of history. Do you have any interesting stories you could share?
It was an adventure. So many memories and stories – too many to count, actually – some funny, some sad, some disappointing, some hilarious. It was a wild ride and one I’m very grateful for.
They say you'll never forget a night at the Clermont Lounge. Name one thing you'll never forget about the experience.
It’s not really one night, per se, but I’ll never forget the ladies who work there. They make the Clermont the Clermont and honestly, no amount of words or photographs in a book could fully do what they do justice.
My advice: Go. Tip generously. And have a night you’ll always remember.
What's next for you?
Like most working mothers, perfecting the art of doing what I love while trying to spend quality time with my family is top priority. I’ll always write in some capacity and continue to run my communications firm, danapop. But now that this project is done and there’s a tangible book, I think I can finally exhale a bit.
And lastly, if you were a bird, which bird would you be?
Ooh – this is tough, but I’d say an Osprey. They are birds of prey (often called sea hawks), ocean-dwellers favoring the coast, have a keen sense of vision, and an interesting ability to change their wing joints to adapt their surroundings (thanks, Wikipedia!).
I’d like to think I’m most of those things: smart, able to be flexible when needed, a strong sense of direction and internal compass, and someone drawn to the sea.