An overview of the most recent hadron spectroscopy results
by the CLAS experiment at JLAB, obtained by exploiting a real photon beam, is reported. For the first time the experiment could
operate with a beam of suitable intensity and energy resolution to allow complete studies of light mesons and baryons
dynamics to be performed. An upgraded version of the apparatus, CLAS12, which recently started taking data at the new CEBAF machine (that is providing an electron beam of about twice the previous energy), will soon be able to deliver new results based on the interactions of a virtual photon beam.
The potentialities of the new CLAS12 apparatus for hadron spectroscopy studies are also described.