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Shooting Sex
by Bob Carlos Clarke - Terry mentally undresses strangers on his coffee table

Shooting Sex
by Bob Carlos Clarke
Terry mentally undresses strangers on his coffe table

I learned who Bob Carlos Clarke was from a photo magazine last year, but the truth is, I had been aware of him for years. Always a fan of photography, (particularly if it was centered around beautiful women,) I had been a fan of Bob Carlos Clarke without knowing his name but now I had a book to look forward to that showcased the images I remembered him from. It was summer of 2002 when I read about Shooting Sex, an upcoming book of his work, but for months I was unable to find it anywhere. I can't remember whether I special ordered it through a bookstore I was working at or whether I ordered it from Amazon.com in the United Kingdom, but it was a long time before I finally had it in my possession. I am writing this to tell you all that it was well worth the wait at any price.
Shooting Sex, or "The Definitive guide to undressing beautiful strangers, (as it is subtitled), is a bible of an artist's legacy, both personal and professionally. It is page after page (177 gorgeous pages, to be exact), of essays and photographs, memories and musings. Shooting Sex is also one of the most beautiful books in my collection by a man who obviously deserves a great deal more acclaim and credit than he has received.
Shooting Sex has put Bob Carlos Clarke at the top of my list of favorite photographers. He has an eye for glamour and beauty that is refreshingly unique and he portrays it in a way that is not just another fashion image for the sake of being. His images are rich and honest, sexy and alive. Experiencing his work is like sharing the memories of a thousand ghosts. The images are often raw and voyeuristic, but always striking and fantastic. Bob Carlos Clarke's work is what good photography should be. It is pure fantasy. It is capturing dreams and color, movement and shape. When he photographs celebrities, he makes them the legends the public sees them as.
Some of the images are quite racy and risque, but never overtly pornographic or explicit. Bob Carlos Clarke has too much respect for his subjects and it is obvious from the openness give, that the respect is mutual. My favorite set of images begins on page 66 and is of a masked nude woman (Emma), in front of a mirror and in a bathroom setting. The light and tone in these images is unlike anything I have seen before and the book sat open to these pages on my desk for weeks after it arrived because I couldn't bear closing these pages.
As I write this, I am still reading through the wonderfully candid text. Unlike many photo collections, Bob Carlos Clarke includes a full written book to accompany these images, and his stories are as engrossing as the images. If you love photography, you must get this book while you can, at any cost. It doesn't seem to be available in the United States or through amazon.com, which is truly upsetting, but you can buy it through the artist's web site, (along with the gorgeous prints that I too hope to one day own.)
Shooting Sex is not what the title suggests, but rather a journey through the years of one of the most gifted photographers who has ever blessed us with his work. This is one of the finest coffee table books you will ever find, so go find one now!

Terry Osterhout
September 2003

You can look for Shooting Sex at Amazon.com, but it's not always available. You also might try the authors web site.

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