I have learned about Larry Clark through his movies. I first saw his movie ‘Kids’ way back in college. My friends and I were so moved with it, we searched for more of his works. Then, discovered that he was a photographer first before venturing to movie directing. Thus, the fascination on this man.
As dark and intriguing or should I say controversial as his movies, Larry Clark published his first book Tulsa in 1971, the photographs depicts the dark side of Tulsa, USA. Considered to be one of the more conservative towns then, Larry Clark would take photos of his friends shooting drugs , having sex and holding guns. He delved into the realism of his photographs, as he immersed himself with these people and did drugs and slept with them, and even included himself in some of the photographs. Critics would call his book sleazy and said that he exploited his subjects. Nevertheless, it won praises from others who have seen his book.
Larry Clark shared his techniques in capturing his unique photographs on a book, ‘Darkroom’, published in 1977 especially on the controversial book ‘Tulsa’, he says “I do a lot of burning and dodging when making a print and then use bleach. there’s not a straight print in the TULSA book. When I’m photographing I always try to shoot against the light, the film can’t handle this and everything gets burned up, since I’m exposing for the shadows."
After ‘Tulsa’, Larry Clark published another controversial book, ‘Teenage Lust’ in 1983, an autobiography of his teen past as depicted through the images of others. He did the same process of immersing himself with the kids from new York and taking their photos as he sees himself. Most photos are so explicit, I’m pretty sure, it won’t be allowed to be published here.
What I totally admire about Larry Clark is he wants to bring reality in his work. From when he started with photography on to his movies. It helped a lot, in my opinion, that he took his pjotos in black & white. When looking at both his medium, there is always that sense of feeling “hey, that’s me!” by his audience. That’s what best captured me with his work. Photography has always been capturing life in still frame and Larry Clark has best captured it in his work. Looking forward to a new project from this awesome guy.