Week 9: thoughts
My selected image was taken by Larry Clarke and is from the project ‘Tulsa’ Clarke an extremely successful photographer and film director captured these images of Tulsa in Oklahoma, America.
The series of images taken by Clarke show a variety of people, mostly degenerates, indulging in substance abuse, partaking in violent crimes or posing with weapons. These images document a part of America left behind once the industry that had employed families in this area had started to leave.
In the selected image a couple is seen, in a bedroom, both of the subjects are naked, the male appears to be smoking a cigarette or joint whilst injecting the female subject with a heroin needle.
This is unfortunately the reality for many of the youth in cities where common trades have faded out, however the image is a documentary photograph and the benefits of documentary photography is that it highlights things about different subjects and areas that we may otherwise be unaware of.
The image above is shot in monochrome, and is visually very striking, the shadows and tone create a very cinematic feel. whether intentionally or not the images are actually very glamorous. This is one of the things that I am most conflicted about when looking at the work of Larry Clarke.
Clarke is documenting the worst of of society in the most visually attractive way is he glorifying the actions? Having admitted that he too at the time was an addict and that was the only reason the subjects in his work were so willing to allow him to capture them.
Should a documentary photographer consider the aesthetics of his images before/ after capturing them?