16 years have passed since Bob Carlos Clarke’s last exhibition in 2004 at The Little Black Gallery in London. Two years later he committed suicide.
If you look him up online, you will find out that Bob Carlos Clarke was born in Cork, Ireland in 1950. He moved to England to study art and design at The West Sussex College of Art where he developed an interest in photography. After that he went on to The London College of Printing, and then he completed his MA at the Royal College of Art in 1975. You know, just in case.
What you need to know instead, it’s that he basically worked in virtually all photographic genres, winning numerous awards for his commercial campaigns, acknowledgement for his photo reportages and portraits of celebrities. He was internationally acclaimed from collectors of fine art prints. I am pretty sure you have seen some of his work even thou you didn’t know it was his.
“One of the great photographic image-makers of the last few decades”
Terence Pepper, Curator of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery
Bob Carlos Clarke produced six books: The Illustrated Delta of Venus (1979), Obsession (1981), The Dark Summer (1985), White Heat (1990), Shooting Sex (2002), and Love Dolls Never Die (2004).
His photographs are weird, wonderful, and erotic
Carlos Clarke was heavily influenced by Allen Jones, a friends whose work drew heavily on fetishism. His first encounter with rubber and latex was when the publisher of a fetish magazine contacted him to shoot for his publication.
This blog post features photographs from his latest exhibition, Love Dolls Never Die. Here is a brief review of the exhibition by Art.
His photographs featured actresses and public figures. This included Neo-Burlesque performer Dita Von Teese, the ‘Queen of Burlesque’ (more on that here) and actress Rachel Weisz when she was only 26 yo (that was definitely not the last time she wore latex, did you see that gorgeous red latex dress she wore at the last year at the Oscars? remember? When there were still events and gatherings? good times…).
“It’s not a job. It’s an addiction, I could have entertained a fashionable class-A drug habit. But I chose instead to indulge an unfashionable dependence on A-class females”
Bob Carlos Clarke
Bob Carlos Clarke was daringly creative and rather direct, straddling the fine line between erotica and porn.
He died on March 25, 2006, aged 55. After leaving the Priory, the private psychiatric hospital in southwest London he admitted himself to earlier that month, he took a short walk to a level crossing in Barnes where, witnesses say, he stepped in front of a Waterloo-bound train.
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“To qualify as a legend, get famous young, die tragically and dramatically and never underestimate the importance of your iconic photographs.”
Bob Carlos Clarke