Bob Carlos Clarke, photographer of beautiful women, is laid to rest
By Terry Kirby, Chief Reporter, The Independent Published: 07 April 2006
Bob Carlos Clarke had a lifestyle which would have been the envy of many. A photographer who specialised in striking and exotic images of beautiful women, he was wealthy and had a glamorous wife and a teenage daughter.
Twelve days ago, Carlos Clarke, 55, left The Priory hospital in south-west London, where he had been a voluntary patient, telling staff he would be gone for about 30 minutes. He walked to the Thames-side suburb of Barnes and, witnesses say, waited patiently at a level crossing before throwing himself in front of a Waterloo-bound train.
As his friends and family gathered yesterday for his funeral in west London, many would have been asking themselves why a man who had such a rich and interesting life chose to apparently commit suicide in such a fashion.
It was not drugs, drink or "lifestyle" exhaustion that had led him to the Priory a few weeks earlier. Only those in his innermost circle were aware Carlos Clarke, born in Cork to an émigré English family with aristocratic connections, had suffered from severe, clinical depression, the same condition that had affected his mother and her brother, who killed himself at 14. Specific reasons remain unclear. And he appeared to have a solid, 20-year marriage to his wife, Lindsay Rudland, a former model, during which time he photographed some of the world's most beautiful women in often highly erotic fashion. The couple had a daughter, Scarlett, 14, and a large house in Chelsea, which they bought only a few months ago.
Carlos Clarke's family are understood to be satisfied The Priory was not negligent in connection with his death, but the hospital is conducting an inquiry. A spokeswomensaid: "It is the absolute hell of psychiatry that the physicians rely upon the patient telling them what they are thinking and feeling. It is sometimes impossible to understand a patient's state of mind."
At the time of his death Carlos Clarke was involved in an exhibition in Barcelona and the hanging of his work in one of his friend Marco Pierre White's restaurants. He also knew the decline in conventional print-based photography was likely to see the value of his work increase. Tim Jefferies, the director of Hamilton's Gallery, one of London's prime showcases for photographic work, said: "I never saw him in a depressed state ... As with any very talented artistic individual, he had many sides to his character."
Carlos Clarke photographed glamorous models. But he also found women in lap dancing and fetish clubs, preferring unknown amateurs to groomed professionals. Although he hated his work being called pornographic, his last book was called Shooting Sex: The Definitive Guide To Undressing Beautiful Women. During the funeral at Brompton cemetery, one of the readings quoted the book, where he wrote: "For the purposes of deification, an early death is essential."