DITA VON TEESE, NOVEMBER 2005 SPANK ME, 2002 VINNIE

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DITA VON TEESE, NOVEMBER 2005 SPANK ME, 2002 VINNIE
SPANK ME, 2002
VINNIE JONES, 1999
Another peach of a commission
(below). “It’s not a job. it’s an
addiction,” wrote Carlos Clarke.
“I could have entertained a
fashionable class-A drug habit.
But I chose instead to indulge
an unfashionable dependence
on A-class females”
Carlos Clarke became friends
with Jones (above) after he
photographed the former
footballer for a commercial
His career took off in 1980 when he shot the photographs
for an illustrated edition of Anaïs Nin’s book of erotic
stories Delta of Venus, followed by Obsession (1981) and a
stream of glossy coffee-table books, including The Dark
Summer (1985) and Shooting Sex (2002). At times his work
attracted heavy criticism. He responded: “It’s the feminists
and the lesbians that should be supporting female nudes.
The female fashion editors have colluded in the demise of
their own sex by going along with the ludicrous charade of
supermodels. Fashion poses a far greater threat to modern
woman than pornography, with its wild demands that she
conform to that freakish body shape.”
Carlos Clarke was also renowned for numerous
advertising campaigns, including ones for Levi’s, Smirnoff
and Volkswagen, and is credited with revolutionising food
publishing after documenting the then little-known chef
Marco Pierre White in a series of photographs published in
1990 in a book called White Heat. Though he continued to
sell his work to magazines throughout the 1990s – his
candid images of drunken teenagers in passionate embraces
were published in this magazine – he seemed to become
DITA VON TEESE,
NOVEMBER 2005
The American model and
burlesque performer Von Teese
(above) was the last big
celebrity to be photographed by
Carlos Clarke. This session
followed in the style of his
Love-Dolls Never Die series,
featuring “strong, independent
women who run the world”
disillusioned: “After 30 years as a photographer I can say this
business has got harder, more callous, less open and much
more competitive. In the 1960s, photographers ranked just
behind rock stars in terms of image. Now they’re way down
the list, behind brawling footballers and provincial DJs.”
Around the time of his death, he was busy preparing
to open his Love-Dolls Never Die exhibition in Barcelona,
and hanging photographs in one of Marco Pierre White’s
new restaurants, Luciano. He was buried at Brompton
cemetery in a non-religious ceremony in early April.
A eulogy was read by Rupert Morris, a minister from the
British Humanist Association: “In retrospect, the signs
were there that he might choose one day to end his life in
some sudden and violent way. His own work is full of
allusions to such things, and many of you here may well
have your own insights. For his wife, Lindsey, certainly,
the manner of his death, although deeply shocking and
wounding, was not entirely a surprise.” s
A selection of Bob Carlos Clarke’s work is at Photo-London
2006, at the Royal Academy, 6 Burlington Gardens, London W1,
from Thursday to next Sunday. Visit www.photo-london.com
14th May 2006 The Sunday Times Magazine
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