TO SAY THAT BOB CARLOS Clarke was successful is understatement to the extreme. He practically invented his own style and is best known for his powerful images of beautiful women clad in rubber, latex or nothing at all. He was wealthy and enjoyed a large house in Chelsea. He had a beautiful wife, Lindsey, to whom he’d been married for 20 years, and a daughter, Scarlett. But Carlos Clarke also had a darker side and suffered from depression. Those who knew Carlos Clarke often describe a different man: someone who craved attention, who was terrified of rejection and who was often obsessive and paranoid about his work. Depression afflicted his mother too, as well as an uncle who killed himself at the age of 14. And it was depression that would claim Carlos Clarke’s life too.
Tragically, on 25 March 2006 Carlos Clarke left the Priory Clinic, where he was a voluntary patient, and walked to a level crossing near Barnes where he threw himself in front of a train bound for London Waterloo. At the time of his death, he was working on a project with friend and chef Marco Pierre White, who he first photographed back in 1987. The pair were installing Carlos Clarke’s pictures in Pierre White’s London West End restaurant, Luciano.
It fell to Carlos Clarke’s widow Lindsey and his agent Ghislain Pascal to complete the project. And earlier this year, they did just that. Walking into Luciano’s now is an experience all lovers of photography should have. Huge prints of Carlos Clarke’s work adorn the walls: a true legacy and a more impressive sight than can be seen in many dedicated photographic galleries.
To mark the completion of the Luciano project, Pro invited six people who knew Bob Carlos Clarke better than anyone to come and discuss his life and work over dinner. Joining Lindsey Carlos Clarke and Ghislain Pascal were printer Ted Chan, framer Tim Blake, photographer John Stoddart and writer Simon Garfield. Surrounded by Bob’s work in the private dining area of Luciano, conversation soon turned to the pictures, and what Bob himself would have thought of the completed exhibit.
– via Retrospective from Ian Farrel
Lindsey Carlos Clarke, wife of the late Bob, has opened a new photography gallery: The Little Black Gallery at 13A Park Walk, London SW10 0AJ (t: 020-7349 9332, www.thelittleblackgallery.com). The gallery will showcase photography from around the world, and will also be home to the Bob Carlos Clarke Foundation. There will be a ‘Bob Carlos Clarke’ room with a rotating exhibition of his work available to buy – including many pictures available for the very first time.