Clark, Larry

American (1943-)

Larry Clark is – through photos and films –one of the foremost chroniclers of youth subculture. His images of drug use, underage sex, violence and prostitution have spurred debates on the fine line between art and pornography, while provoking conversation around dysfunctional families, religious intolerance, masculinity and the construction of identity.

Clark assisted his mother, an itinerant baby photographer, in her own business, picking up technique along the way. Her subject matter, however, bored him; in 1959, when Clark began injecting amphetamines with friends, he took the opportunity to bring his camera along. The strength of these images helped him gain admittance to art school, but he was drafted to serve in Vietnam and never finished. Disillusioned upon his return, he published his famous book of images, Tulsa (1971). Clark spoke for a generation by capturing the descent of three young men from idealism into paranoia, post-Vietnam. He followed this up with Teenage Lust (1983), which he designated autobiographical. Using pictures of others, he tells the tale of a young man heavily involved in drug use and hustling. In recent years, Clark has turned his attention to film, directing several music videos and the controversial feature film, Kids.