An impressive selection of rarely seen celebrity portraits by renowned photographer Bob Carlos Clarke have been donated to the National Portrait Gallery collection by the Bob Carlos Clarke Foundation.
The photographs, which were taken in various locations between 1971 and 1998, include portraits of high profile figures such as Marco Pierre White, who Carlos Clarke photographed in his studio following the success of his acclaimed recipe book and autobiography White Heat, a striking portrait of actress Rachel Weisz, shot in Carlos Clarke’s studio in 1993, and Mick Jagger, taken during a Rolling Stones performance at The Marquee in London in 1971.
Other highlights from the collection include portraits of Ronnie Wood and Bryan Ferry, both photographed by Carlos Clarke for the 1997 Powergen calendar, and a portrait of Elton John smiling directly at the camera, which was taken during an album cover shoot in 1991. Portraits of Elle Macpherson, taken during a 1993 photo shoot for luxury jeweller Butler & Wilson and Christopher Lee, shot for the 1993 Powergen calendar were also donated to the Gallery.
Carlos Clarke (1950 – 2006) was born in Cork, Ireland, and moved to England in 1964 to study art and design at The West Sussex College of Art where he developed a strong interest in photography. He went on to The London College of Printing, before completing an MA degree in photography at the Royal College of Art in 1975.
Carlos Clarke worked across many photography styles, winning numerous awards for his high-profile advertising campaigns and international recognition for his photojournalism and portraits of celebrities. He became particularly well known for his controversial portraits, the subjects of which included rock stars and glamorous female models.
Bob Carlos Clarke had two solo exhibitions during his lifetime; Styx at Hamiltons Gallery in Mayfair, London in 1991 and his first digital photography exhibition Love Dolls Never Die at Eyestorm Gallery in 2004. He also produced six books: The Illustrated Delta of Venus (1979), Obsession (1981), The Dark Summer (1985), White Heat (1990), Shooting Sex (2002), and Love Dolls Never Die (2004).
Following a period in rehabilitation clinic The Priory, Carlos Clarke committed suicide in 2006. His wife Lindsey Carlos Clarke and daughter Scarlett have generously donated the ten prints to the National Portrait Gallery collection in recognition of Carlos Clarke’s remarkable contribution to portrait photography.
Clare Freestone, Associate Curator of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, says:
These photographs are both classic and era defining. We are pleased to be able to add to the representation of Bob Carlos Clarke’s work in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection with this generous portfolio gift.
For further information about the Bob Carlos Clarke Foundation, visit www.thelittleblackgallery.com
Photos: Rachel Weisz, Marco Pierre White and Mick Jagger by Bob Carlos Clarke © Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.