It may appear a small unassuming space set off the Fulham Road, yet it’s probably one of the most controversial and intriguing. Voted the number one emerging gallery in London in 2011 and nominated for the Best Lifestyle brand award The Little Black Gallery is one of the best boutique photography galleries in London, most probably due to its archive of work by legendary British fashion photographer Bob Carlos Clarke. His erotically-charged portraits are always guaranteed to cause a stir, best known for his images of gorgeous women partially clad in glossy latex, who have included Rachel Weisz and Yasmin Le Bon. Terrence Pepper, curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery has labelled Carlos Clarke as, “One of the greatest photographic image-makers of the last few decades”.
Unsurprisingly the gallery draws marquee names such as Terry O’Neill, Norman Parkinson, Chris Levine – most famous for his portrait of the Queen ‘Lightness of Being’, and Mike Figgis – the Leaving Las Vegas director who exhibited an outstanding collection of portraits of Kate Moss back in June 2011.
The forces behind include Lindsey Carlos Clarke, former model and widow of Bob; Ghislain Pascal, once celebrity agent and publicist before becoming agent to Bob, who now manages The Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke; and socialite art collector Tamara Beckwith, who when she is not dashing off to some fabulous location on a photo shoot, writing assignments or attending a friends event, she is busy juggling work at her photography gallery. With these three individuals being the force behind The Little Black Gallery, it is no wonder that the entire space just oozes such a style and sophistication. The intention behind the gallery was to create a boutique photography gallery, with Bob’s work being their calling card. Beckwith became a close friend to Bob after shooting her for The Sunday Times, who she admits was also the one to introduce her to photography as an art form.
“Photography is a very personal way to express your taste, where you’ll always find something that is right for you. Now that I’ve opened The Little Black Gallery, I can indulge in my passion whilst of course also earning a living. I know this gallery isn’t only about him, but Bob would have been so chuffed that we opened a gallery.”
Spring 2012 saw the opening of The Bob Carlos Clarke Bar at The Imperial Arms on the New Kings Road, which continues to be a huge success. Recently Lindsey has taken a step back from the gallery, whilst Tamara and Ghislain are in full throttle with future exhibitions for 2103. Tamara says she is constantly dreaming about which photographers she would like to entice to show at the gallery. "Bringing people in is one of the things I bring to the party", she says.
The Little Black Gallery therefore offers her the ideal base in which to launch her dreams, with 2013 including shows by leading fashion photographer Bruno Bisang and Tyler Udall, an emerging US photographer who has previously worked at Dazed & Confused and Another Man.
With plans to expand further and take the gallery across the Channel by perhaps opening a space in Paris, the sky is certainly bright for The Little Black Gallery.
View The Little Black Gallery on the Domus Nova Art & Culture Guide
The Little Black Gallery, 13A Park Walk, London SW10; thelittleblackgallery.com