Michael Clark

© estate of Chris Garnham

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Michael Clark

by Chris Garnham
bromide print, 1984
11 5/8 in. x 11 3/8 in. (294 mm x 290 mm)
Purchased, 1986
Photographs Collection
NPG x26055

Sitterback to top

  • Michael Clark (1962-), Dancer and choreographer. Sitter in 2 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Chris Garnham (1958-1989), Photographer. Artist or producer of 57 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Photographs, 2018, p. 110 Read entry

    Chris Garnham (1958-89) trained as an illustrator at the Royal College of Art before working for trend-setting magazines such as The Face and Blitz. The latter voted him Photographer of the Year in 1984, but his life and career were abruptly ended in the Marchioness riverboat accident of 1989. Garnham’s background in illustration gave his work a distinctive and imaginative style, as did his use of multiple exposures. The trailblazing dancer Michael Clark (b.1962) was a bright star of the Royal Ballet School, but left to pursue a more provocative style of dance. At the age of twenty-two, in the year this portrait was taken, Clark set up his own eponymous dance company, choreographing scandalous punk performances to avant-garde music. Clark has collaborated with some of the most progressive talents of his generation, including fashion designers BodyMap, the artists Sarah Lucas and Leigh Bowery, and musicians Mark E. Smith, Wire, Jarvis Cocker, Scritti Politti and Relaxed Muscle.

  • Rab MacGibbon, National Portrait Gallery: The Collection, p. 109

Events of 1984back to top

Current affairs

The Provisional IRA bomb the Grand Hotel in Brighton where various politicians, including the Prime Minister, where staying for the annual Conservative Party conference. The bomb killed five people including a conservative MP, but no members of the cabinet. Thatcher began the next session of the conference the following morning at 9.30 as planned saying: 'all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.'

Art and science

Dr Alec Jeffreys discovers that patterns in an individual's DNA can be identified and that each person has a unique 'genetic fingerprint'. The technique was soon utilised by forensic scientists to help in criminal investigations, and in order to identify human remains, for paternity testing, and to match organ donors.
Ted Hughes is appointed poet Laureate.


Ethiopia suffers severe drought and famine. The Ethiopian government responded by uprooting large numbers of peasants in the worst affected areas and by setting up new villages for the displaced people. However, the planned villages were frequently poorly equipped and many people chose to flee rather than acquiesce with government plans leading to further decline in food production and bringing the total death toll to over 1 million.

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