Larry Clark was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1943; he lives in New York. He arrived in Salvador, Brazil, on June 16, 1999, with his fifteen-year-old son Matthew, overlapping with Domenico de Clario and Janine Antoni.
Clark is best known for his photographs and films featuring candid images of adolescents in crisis, especially teenagers for whom drugs, sex, and violence are a part of everyday life. Three of these books of photographs—Tulsa, Teenage Lust, and The Perfect Childhood—are autobiographical, However, his photographs also evoke broader social meanings by revealing the often desperate lives of working-class and middle-class adolescents in the United States—the disintegration of the American Dream.
In the mid-1990s, Clark began to make feature-length films. His first was Kids (1995), which depicts a day in the life of New York teenagers, one of whom, Jenny, discovers that she is HIV-positive, and roams from place to place in a quest to bring the news to Telly, the only person with whom she has had sex.
For the project he developed for The Quiet in the Land, Clark sought to reveal the positive impact that Projeto Axé has had on the life of Salvador by filming children and teenagers still living on the street and asking them to talk about their lives, and also by filming children and teenagers who have left the street to join Axé, and asking them to discuss how their lives have changed since joining the organization.
Among the neighborhoods that Clark visited were Alagados and Pelourinho. On these visits, he was at times accompanied by his son; Ricardo Cappi, a criminologist who worked at Axé; France Morin; and an interpreter. Neither he nor his son had seen such devastating poverty before, and he described Alagados as a neighborhood that is not supposed to exist but does. He filmed the children he met with a digital video camera, from which he made still photographs. While some of his photographs show the children in the context of their neighborhoods, others are more like portraits. For the exhibition at the Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia, he showed a selection of these photographs.