British Fashion Photographer Bob Carlos Clarke Dies At 55
March 27, 2006
By Daryl Lang
British fashion and glamour photographer Bob Carlos Clarke , 55, known for his provocative, sexually charged images of women, died Saturday, his agency said today.
Clarke died in an apparent suicide after being hit by a train in London, according to a report on the web site of the British magazine Amateur Photographer and other British media reports. Clarke's rep, Ghislain Pascal of Panic Pictures, said called the photographer's death a "tragic accident."
Clarke's clients and collaborators ranged from international advertisers like Levi's and Volkswagen to designers of rubber fetish outfits. He published five books, the most recent of which was a 2002 book of nudes called Shooting Sex.
"With an obsessive compulsion I've taken more or less the same photographs over and over again during the past three decades," Clarke wrote in a passage published on the book's web site. "It's not a job – it's an addiction."
Born in Ireland, Clarke came to England in 1964 and studied at The West Sussex College of Art, The London College of Printing and The Royal College of Art, according to his web site. Clarke was a popular guest speaker at British photography shows and was also a frequent columnist for various photography magazines.
In a profile in the book The World's Top Photographers: Nudes (edited by PDN 's Anthony LaSala ), Clarke admitted that he got into nude photography for the sex. On the subject of nude photography, he advised, "Do it to get laid. But get a real job."
Some of Clarke's most recent work appeared in an exhibition called Love-Dolls Never Die, which opened in London in 2004 and is set to open next month in Barcelona, Spain. The exhibition, which comments on society's portrayal of women as objects, includes images of latex-clad models with switches, keys or radio controls.
More shows featuring Clarke's work are being planned for Monaco, Cape Town and Shanghai, Pascal says.
In a recent interview with TBS , an English-language magazine in Spain, Clarke said he preferred to photograph models he found himself rather than supermodels cast through an agency.
"There is often nowhere duller in a nightclub than the VIP area with a lot of posing crap, they're all so self-conscious," Clarke told the magazine. "My favorite girls [to photograph] are often crazy nutters who end up sleeping on the street at night and taking risks. Risk taking is an important thing to get a result; someone who is prepared to throw themselves onto your camera without any fear."
Pascal, a celebrity agent who set up a picture agency with Clarke, says, "I think Bob will be remembered as Britain's answer to Helmut Newton ."