Larry Clark made his name with the landmark book of documentary photographs Tulsa in 1973. His grainy black-and-white images of youths in his hometown shooting drugs, engaging in sex, and inflicting violence on one another spoke a truth rarely acknowledged at the time. Clark's work since then has traced the lurid and deviant lives of teenagers with disturbing and controversial results. In 1995, Clark released the shocking film Kids, intent on showing the media's effect on youth culture while reveling in the pure, immersive, and unfettered experience of young people. Clark's work has influenced later photographers like Terry Richardson and Ryan McGinley, and independent filmmaker Gus Van Sant.
In 1973, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Clark with a Photographers' Fellowship, and in 2005 he received an International Photography Lucie Award. A major retrospective of his work was held in 2010 at Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in France.