Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

Pushing it?


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Pushing it?

15 Oct 2020 8:32AM   Views : 334 Unique : 250

I wrote about Bob Carlos Clarke a few weeks ago. He’d have been 70 around now, and his Estate and The Little Black Gallery in London is marking the event with a new book, Studio. It’s a collection of Polaroids, notes and so on, and there are 132 pages, which will cost you a little over 50p each. It’s described as a must have book for any fan of photography. The blurb includes the following:

'Bob Carlos Clarke was one of the most iconic photographers of his generation.

'His studio in south-west London was notorious for being the place where most models wanted to be. To be photographed by one of the greats, in his vast studio where there was always time for laughter and lunch at his grande dining room table in the kitchen. Bob was always the star of the show and entertained his models and crew with outrageous stories and tales of past encounters.'

And that’s all true. I wonder, though, if the book has the sort of concentrated essence of photography that the price suggests. I don’t recall whether I paid £40 or more for Shooting Sex when it was first published, which is superbly printed, has many more pages, and is a distillation of all that Carlos Clarke did. A retrospective, however much behind-the-scenes material it contains, seems unlikely to give as rounded and complete a view of Carlos Clarke’s work.

I won’t deny that looking at workbooks and the photographer’s notes can fill gaps for the serious fan or the determined analyst. But while I’d urge anyone with an interest in portraits, female nudes and erotica to buy a copy of Shooting Sex if they find a copy under £100, I’m really unsure about Studio. For most people, a better celebration of BCC would be to issue a new edition of the earlier book, possibly with a paperback option. It is that good.

Maybe, though, we’re looking at two very different things. One is a definitive picture book, autobiography and guide (comparable in some ways with Iain Banks’s Raw Spirit, about whisky, which has a similar mix of elements). The other is a loving reconstruction from the archaeological remains of a great photographer’s work. Because Carlos Clarke worked, at least partly, in the world of art collectors, this has been done in a way that reflects the collectors’ world, making a collectable of the legacy…

No picture today, as a sort of memorial to a better photographer than I can dream of being, and a more troubled man than I am or ever have been, though we’re a few months past the day he’d have been 70, according to Wikipedia.

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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
15 Oct 2020 8:37AM
Instead of a picture here, go looking for Carlos Clarke on the web.

This obituary is a good starting point.

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