On Saturday 25th March 2006 Bob Carlos Clarke walked out of ‘The Priory’ rehab centre, went to the White Hart Lane railway crossing in Barnes, London, climbed over the barrier and at 11.33am threw himself in front of the Windsor to Waterloo train.  Now, seven years after his death the Bob Carlos Clarke Foundation are planning to make a film about his life.

It’s incredibly sad that, as is often the case with great artists, his talent is perhaps more revered in death than when he was alive.  After a highly successful career he had felt that some agencies were disregarding him because of his age or reputation and that he was being passed over for many lucrative campaigns.  His solution was to adopt a secret identity, rebranding himself as ‘Jackal’ – who subsequently went on to be commissioned for an editorial shoot for lads magazine ‘Front’.

According to Bob’s daughter Scarlett, “He needed to be dead to get the recognition he deserved.  That’s what he always said.”

When discussing Robert Mapplethorpe, Carlos Clarke had earlier stated,  “For the purposes of deification, an early and appropriate death is essential. If you want to qualify as a legend, get famous young, die tragically and dramatically, and never underestimate the importance of your unrepeatable, irreplaceable, iconic photographs.”

Iconic photographs indeed.  I first became familiar with Bob Carlos Clarke’s work when my good friend John Riley lent me a copy of his book ‘Shooting Sex’.  I was so overawed with the photography along with the honesty and humour of the writing that I immediately ordered my own copy and have read it time and time again.  If you haven’t read it you’ll currently find it on Amazon.

I’m also privileged to own a copy of ‘Love Dolls Never Die’.  Printed especially for the London opening of Carlos Clarke’s ‘Love Dolls Never Die’ exhibition in November 2004.  Bound in pink vinyl with a faux-crocodile finish, the edition was limited to just 300 copies.  They occasionally sell on Ebay for hundreds of pounds.

I like to end my blog posts with a photograph, so here is Emma B in an art nude style that I hope Bob would have liked. (click to enlarge).


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