Lawrence Donald “Larry” Clark is an American film director, photographer, writer and film producer who is best known for his controversial teen film Kids (95). His work focuses primarily on youth who casually engage in illegal drug use, underage sex, and violence. Routinely carrying a camera, from 1963 to 1971 Clark produced pictures of his drug-shooting coterie that have been described by critics as “exposing the reality of American suburban life at the fringe and … shattering long-held mythical conventions that drugs and violence were an experience solely indicative of the urban landscape.”
Clark has said:
I don’t try to be controversial, I just try to be honest and tell the truth about life. Coming from the art world, I never think there are things you can’t do or show. I think that Hollywood films are really underestimating their audience. I’ve been an artist for many, many years. I’m not interested in making films to make money. I’m interested in making work that I’m satisfied with, showing people’s lives that aren’t shown. If I could see this anywhere else, I wouldn’t have to make these films.
This work of Clark’s is my favourite. His photography book entitled ‘Tulsa’, encloses some of his most controversial work, involving photographs of his friends taking drugs, and being kids. This really is the work of someone who is just, best described as, in the moment. Documenting at its best. The underground of New York City, as kids delve into the unknown and feel invulnerable, immortal. I am always a sucker for black a white photographs, mainly because the true focus is on the content, form and detail of what’s in the photo. The silver shine of dust gives off an unforgiving texture to give the content within the photo a true gritty sharpening visual. The movie ‘Kids’ is a direct relation to this work of Larry’s. The movie is far beyond a life lesson, and a true look at how dangerous and quite possibly naïve kids are. Again, the movie shows how kids feel immortal and given the chance to do something dangerous or illegal (if you must), they will. The work shown from Larry is about looking at life differently, with ultimate truth, behind the scenes. Even if some of the images and insights can be somewhat unnerving and disturbing.