Taking Offense: Bob Carlos Clarke
In The Guardian today is this homage to photographer Bob Carlos Clarke, about whom I, quite contentedly, knew literally nothing. (Another piece has appeared here in The Independent.) Turns out that Clarke committed suicide a couple of years ago, apparently because he was depressed about (1) lack of recognition and (2) aging, and so, having diminished prospects of banging the models who posed for his vaguely misogynistic work. His work seems to run the gamut from what is roughly soft-core porn to the simply trite. So the lack of recognition seems little surprise to me. There really is not much going on as far as I can tell. OK, some of the portraits are good, but they hardly stand out among the work of other portraitists you might name. As for his diminished prospects of getting laid by vacuous air-brushed women, well that is simply evolution. Simply put, while it is too bad he died as he did, Clarke's death was as self-indulgent as his life. In other words, it was plenty self-indulgent.* And his work is not worth much more than a passing look.
* This from The Guardian: "'If you want to qualify as a legend,' he wrote, 'get famous young, die tragically and dramatically, and never underestimate the importance of your iconic photographs.'" As the father of a talented, wonderful son who died prematurely without the self-generated drama, this makes me sick. Clarke's daughter was 14 when he killed himself. The same age as Jeff. My question? Bob, how could you do that to your kid?