Larry Clark, Untitled (Woman with a Cigarette), 1963

Larry Clark 

Untitled (Woman with a Cigarette) 

Gelatin silver print (31.1 x 20.3 cm) 


Gift. The Mishkin Gallery 

Untitled (Woman with a Cigarette) is a black and white photograph depicting a young girl with a cigarette in her right hand sitting on a bed in a cramped space. The shadow of hair covers her right eye, but from her firm look, closed-lip, and self-protective post, I feel like she has made up her mind regarding a tough decision. She is determined to navigate and find a way out. 

American artist Larry Clark has been one of the most controversial filmmakers and photographers of his time, proclaiming “I honestly used to think I was cursed to stay on earth and make photographs.” Flirting with the boundaries of acceptability and exploring themes such as death and drugs, Clark has devoted himself to documenting the American youth and their casual engagement in both illicit and sexual activities. 

The Following Label Was Written By Bianca Bailey:

Larry Clark (b. 1943)
Untitled (Girl with Cigarette)
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Gerald M. Lotenberg (Class of ’49), 1987
The Mishkin Gallery
14 x 17 in.

The desire or decision to grow up quickly erases the innocent demeanor. The girl in the image who may prefer being called woman is sitting comfortably, contemplating daily decisions as she seeks acceptance. Oblivious to the camera, she  remains focused on her own thoughts. Looking over her right shoulder with her cigarette in the right hand, left arm over her knees sitting on a bed. Her eyes are looking to the side and not facing the camera, the girl looks as if she is preoccupied. The camera snaps a clear image of the left side of her face as a light shadow graces her right side. Hair covering up the nearly all her face questions if she is hiding scars and bruises.

Larry Clark was recognized for posting photos that revealed the dark moments of teenagers. Clark is famous for his first photo book “Tulsa” published in 1971 which exposed the true identity of the youth in America and uncovered their addictions and self-deprivation. Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Clark was introduced to drug abuse at an early age. Life imitating art is seen throughout the entire collection of his works depicting the untold stories of teenagers participating in adult activities.

“I can’t go back yesterday because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll