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National portrait gallery displays Bob Carlos Clarke's iconic celebrity images

rachel weisz
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Images of a mean and moody Marco Pierre White clutching a meat cleaver, tousle-haired Rachel Weisz pulling a sultry pose, Mick Jagger performing at London's Marquee Club and a grinning Elton John posing for the camera are but a few of the photographs taken by the late Bob Carlos Clarke, which are currently being shown at the National Portrait Gallery in London. 

The photographer took the celebrity portraits between 1971 and 1998 and the gallery recently acquired the collection.The sultry image of The Mummy actress Rachel was taken in 1993, and shows the star giving a smoldering look as she stares down the lens of the camera.

Fans of celebrity chef Marco, meanwhile, might well recognise his photograph, which was taken in 1990 and shows the young star playing up to his moody persona. It was featured in Marco's 1987 book White Heat.

Other shots on display at the gallery include a portrait taken in 1993 of a smiling Elle Macpherson, wearing black PVC lace-up boots and a black cross around her neck. There is also a shot of Mick Jagger taken during a Rolling Stones concert at the Marquee Club in London in 1971 wearing a black sequined jacket and zebra print leggings.

Associate curator of photographs at the NPG, Clare Freestone, called the images "both classic and era defining".The famous photographer was born in Ireland and later studied art and photography in London, before starting a career shooting for glamourous adverts, portraits and erotic photography.

After a brief period in rehab, Clarke committed suicide in 2006, aged 55-years-old. 

The Guardian’s former picture editor, Eamonn McCabe, commented in the photographer’s obituary that Clarke’s style of photography had opened the door for celebrity chefs."They may be all good cooks, but it was Carlos Clarke who made them look interesting," he said.

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