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Larry Clark is an American photographer and film maker, born January 19, 1943 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Clark studied photography at Layton School of Art in Milwaukee and returned to the U.S. as a free lance photographer in New York City after serving the U.S. Army in Vietnam between 1963-1966. His work is focuses on teenage angst, famously in his landmark book ‘Tulsa’, featuring photos shot between 1963-1971 in his home town, cited as some early examples of heroin chic.

“When it first appeared in 1971, Larry Clark’s groundbreaking book Tulsa sparked immediate controversy across the nation. Its graphic depictions of sex, violence, and drug abuse in the youth culture of Oklahoma were acclaimed by critics for stripping bare the myth that Middle America had been immune to the social convulsions that rocked America in the 1960s. The raw, haunting images taken in 1963, 1968, and 1971 document a youth culture progressively overwhelmed by self-destruction — and are as moving and disturbing today as when they first appeared. Originally published in a limited paperback version and republished in 1983 as a limited hardcover edition commissioned by the author, rare-book dealers sell copies of this book for more than a thousand dollars. Now in both hardcover and paperback editions from Grove Press, this seminal work of photographic art and social history is once again available to the general public.” -Google Books

Larry Clark, Tulsa

Inspired by Dorethea Lange and W. Eugene Smith, Clark’s photos are described as not easy to catergorise by their documentary and journalist qualities. The photos published in his book published in 1971 defiantly have similar qualities to Day’s work, a dirty glamour, proving controversial. Adele Hann (art critic) describes ‘Tulsa’:

“Clark’s photographs seemed to depict a repulsive, tragic and hopeless seam in American life, a contaminating and disturbing vision threatening mainstream sensibilities and ambitions” –Living Out The Abject/Subject 1999

Clark’s films work also features this dirty glamour, characterized as heroin chic. His moving image works are described as voyeuristic, exploring the failed American Dream and depiction of sexuality. Some of his movies are available online on Youtube, and show how certain themes in photography can exist in other media texts.


Larry Clark, Tulsa, 1971 [online images] available from:


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