Ahead of our fourth issue launch tomorrow night at MOTH club, (preorder and event details here), we publish the second part of a head to head interview with photographer Scarlett Carlos Clarke and curator Antonia Marsh. See the first part and accompanying shoot by Scarlett in issue four.
“Less than a week after Scarlett Carlos Clarke Skypes me in Paris to ask me about how I felt laying naked on her sofa covered in sausages for the sake of art, I turn the camera as well as the questions on her.
Antonia: I’m happy Polyester want us to do this – I sent them my photos of you after you sent them yours of me and now I’m interviewing you in return too. It’s kind of like a funny exchange isn’t it?
Scarlett: Yeah I like that idea. Its the first assignment I’ve come up with that’s being printed, its really nice as a photographer to have something physically printed. It’s the launch soon, we should go together.
Antonia: Yeah in a ridiculous outfit!
Scarlett: In some kind of sausage outfit, a sausage cloak!
Antonia: You can be the bun I’ll be the hot dog. Oh look, are you drinking one of your coca colas? I really want one
S: I should send some over.
A: Why do you have so many coca colas?
S: From the shoot that I did for Polyester with Felicity Hayward. I had to buy something like 300 cans and gaffer tape them all together!
A: And then with me you bought loads of sausages. Do your local Tesco’s think you’re mad?
S: I have to go to lots of different places because every time they run out of stock because of me.
A: We used to have that at uni but with Solpadeine, we’d buy all the pharmacies out and they wouldn’t sell it to us anymore.
S: I did that once when I was 16 and I did the morning after pill twice in one week because I literally thought that if a man stood next to you you’d get pregnant. And so I went and I pretended to be my twin sister because they wouldn’t give it to me!
A: Amazing. So what else are you working on? You did a strip club reccy for Hate Zine.
S: I shot Gash Land for hate, this amazing artist called Kayleigh O’Keefe who makes these huge colourful sets, she sat naked for me in front of them.
A: When’s the next issue of Hate coming out?
S: End of April, there’s a theme for that one – sex – but I don’t think its gonna be what people expect it to be. It’s more abstract.
A: What else are you doing?
S: Another shoot on Friday that I wanna get an octopus for!
A: A live one?!
S: No – a dead one!
A: What did you use the ox heart you sent me a photo of for?
S: Oh I didn’t buy that, it was just in the village butchers. But I wanna do a shoot there as well.
A: Why all the food stuff? I’m obsessed with food photos too.
S: I just think its really aesthetically pleasing and there’s something sexual about it.
A: It’s almost sexual in its indulgence and transience, like a carnal need mixed with pleasure that disappears just as quickly as it appears.
S: Sex and food are two real pleasures in life.
A: What’s your dream prop for a shoot?
S: My dream prop changes every week. It’s more like dream rooms or locations or scenarios that I fantasise about – I would just like to be able to build sets, which I’m doing on a small scale at the moment but I hope this grows in the future. I’m also building a tall fake wedding cake at the moment with ready-to-roll icing and I’ve got a veil to do a naked bridal shoot or a weird fucked up wedding scene. All these images are gonna go in the book that I wanna do, which is my aim for 2016.
A: This is In the Flesh? That’s what you shot me for?
A: And how did you feel when i was lying on your sofa full of sausages?
S: Ummm… really glad that I’d managed to persuade you to do that [giggles]!
A: How did you get a sofa that was so pink and soft and perfect for it?
S: Oh I actually have been looking on eBay for years for sofas and I’ve never seen a sofa like that or bid, so it was obviously meant to happen.
A: Why were you so happy to offer yourself for me to shoot you nude too?
S: Because I think being naked is quite a vulnerable situation to be in and if you’re asking people to do that you should be prepared to do it yourself. I kind of like the idea of being naked while I’m taking the photos.
A: It felt like an art exchange – because I got naked for you, you got naked for me. What is it about the naked body that attracts you to photograph it? Is this specific to one gender or another?
S: Shooting females naked is just much more fun than shooting men naked. I’ve been through this loads of times, wondering why… I think it just looks better. The female body is just more interesting in my opinion. Why do I like naked? Sometimes I just think clothes really date things. When you shoot someone naked its kind of timeless. I wanna shoot more people naked because even the Felicity shoot was clothed. But what I shot you for was completely my idea and the whole project is my own and I want to do more like that where I have complete control over it.
A: I think the more people see other people being shot naked, the more people will feel comfortable doing it themselves.
S: When I contact people about photographing them, they’ve suddenly started to get weird about it because they think I do loads of nude stuff. But if you look at my website, there’s only really a couple of things – the snail pussy thing and something else. I’ve only really just started nude, but they obviously get that feeling because there’s a kink or something in my work.
A: Maybe its a nudity that people are afraid of. It’s an almost aggressive nudity, not in a confrontational way, but like that photo you just showed me of Gash Land and the one of me are both very “Here we are!”
S: If you think about it there’s sculptures all over London of men with their cocks out and women with their fannies out but if you had a big billboard of a naked man with his dick out people would think that’s too much. It’s because its real when its a photo. It’s funny how people don’t get offended by a really pornographic painting but they would with a photo. It’s real and they cant cope with it.
A: There’s a different kind of nude happening now.
S: Where women are more in control.
A: Nude photos used to be different and much more come hither, now they’re a bit more confrontational, honest. You just mentioned the snail shoot… That self-portrait of you with a snail crawling across your fanny is pretty notorious. At least with me. What’s the story?
S: I was at home one day on my own and it was raining outside and there was lots of snails, and I was getting really frustrated with the way I always need to find models to do shoots and I just wish I had a twin sister.!
A: This twin sister thing is becoming a recurring theme.
S: So I brought the snail in, gave it some spinach – it had quite a nice time – and I had a bath and shaved all the hair off my pussy because I thought it would be quite hard for it to crawl across pubes, it might get stuck.
A: I finally wanted to ask you what the strangest things you’ve shot with are, but I guess you’ve already answered that.
S: Yeah, uhm the snail on my fanny, your sausage thing… I mean I wouldn’t even say they’re that strange.
A: I think strange seems to be your best work.
S: I’d like to be stranger!
Polyester issue four launches 9th of February (tomorrow) at MOTH club Hackney. We’re celebrating with a party featuring a live set by Teenage Caveman, DJ sets from Moonbow x Ayesha Tan Jones, Lu Williams, Moonchild, DJ Warrior Princess and the first IRL opportunity to buy the zine. Click here for more info