Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 19 January 1943, Larry Clark, is an American writer, photographer, film director and producer. He is popularly known for Kids, his movie and his book Tulsa. His regular subject is the youth belonging to a particular subculture and youngsters who employ illicit drug usage, violence and sex.
From an early age, he learned photography. His mother was a baby photographer, and hence from the age of thirteen he was a part of the family business. In 1959, Clark began using drugs with his friends and during 1963 to 1971, Clark photographed himself in druggie state.
Under Walter Sheffer and Gerhard Bakker, Clark studied at Layton School of Art in Wisconsin. By 1964, he moved to New York to work as a freelance, nevertheless he was sent to the Vietnam War to serve for two months. With his experience there, he published his book Tulsa in 1971 which illustrates his drug using friends. Following this, he published Teenage Lust in 1983, an autobiography of his teenage past through pictures. Clark also assembled an essay titled, The Perfect Childhood that displayed a detailed study of the effect of media in youth culture through photographs. These photos are included in public collections at influential art museums.
Moving on, Larry Clark directed Solitary Man, Chris Isaak’s music video in 1993. This resulted in an interest in film direction for Clark. Then he asked Harmony Korine in New York to develop a screenplay for his feature film, Kids. In 1995, the film sparked controversy and received critical acclaim. Clark kept directing feature film for several years.
Seven years later, Larry Clark had to spend a few hours in prison for misbehaving and punching the head of Metro Tartan, UK distributor for his film Ken Park, Harnish McAlpine. This happened as a result of a quarrel over the Middle East and Israel.
According to Peter Biskind’s , Down and Dirty Pictures, Directors like Martin Scorsese and Gus Van Sant were influenced by Larry Clark’s early work. In his overall work, Clark has used themes like dysfunctional relationship within family, religious bigotry, connection between mass media and social behaviors, reasons of violence, sexual activities in teenagers and so on.
Clark is a social artist, however some film critics condemn his films and label them as manipulative, explicit and obscene representation of teenagers. His movie, Ken Park, was banned in Australia and since 2008 has not been distributed in United States.
Despite all the glitches, Larry Clark won prizes at the Stockholm Film Festival, for Bully; at the Rome Film Festival, for Mafia Girl and at the Cognac festival du Film Policier, for Another Day in Paradise. In a total, Clark has made eight film between 1995 and 2012.
Clark’s work suggest the crossing of boundaries, the loss of innocence and no way to return. His films reflect the ugly face of society and the increasing crime in the youth. All the characters in his film, surrender to temptation and indulge in actions without caring about consequences. His work is no doubt alarming but at the same time its compelling. He selects those subjects that are taboo yet they are happening in the society – the only thing Larry Clark did was to make people see what’s happening. Truth is always bitter and although for showing this, Clark did suffer from being labeled as being pornographic and a pervert but at least some took his films as thought provoking pieces of art.