British photographic history

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Bob Carlos Clarke prints donated to the National Photography Collection

More than 100 photographs by acclaimed British photographer Bob Carlos Clarke, including iconic images of Keith Richards, Marco Pierre White, Caprice, Mandy Smith and Rachel Weisz, have been acquired by the National Media Museum for the National Photography Collection.

Carlos Clarke (1950-2006), became best known for his sexually provocative and stylised images, as well as a perfectionism and experimental approach in printing. For 30 years he photographed models, actors, musicians, commercial adverts and several still life pieces.

His career started after he left the Royal College of Art in 1975, but his rise to fame came in the 1980s, and for the next two decades his work was synonymous with glamour, eroticism, fashion and fame.

Greg Hobson, Curator of photographs at the National Media Museum, said: “Bob Carlos Clarke is undoubtedly a significant figure in British photography, representing many of the things that were both most interesting, but also most challenging in the rapidly evolving photographic landscape of the 1980s and 90s. He was a versatile and imaginative photographer, and there is a consistent level of quality in all his work, in particular in the photographs that he meticulously printed himself.”

Lindsey Carlos Clarke, Bob’s wife, said: “I am delighted that these important images are now part of the National Photography Collection, so that the nation has access to them now and in the future.”

Michael Terwey, Head of Exhibitions and Collections at the National Media Museum added: “Carlos Clarke’s exemplary craft in photography makes this a compelling and relevant contemporary acquisition for the National Photography Collection. We are very grateful for the help and support of Lindsey Carlos Clarke, Ghislain Pascal and Philippe Garner over the last year in making a selection of more than 100 prints that are representative of the career of a unique talent.”

The acquisition for the National Photography Collection includes several of Carlos Clarke’s most recognised and acclaimed photographs, but it also features lesser known examples including a shot of Mick Jagger performing at the Roundhouse in 1971, several images from ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’ series (1994), as well as advertising shots for Wallis and Smirnoff and prints of his intriguing still life work.

 A significant selection of the photographer’s work is currently displayed in the exhibition BOB CARLOS CLARKE: LIVING DOLLS at the Little Black Gallery in London.

Image: Masked Blonde, 1996 © The Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke

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