I decided to do a little post about Patrick Demarchelier, since there is a dual gallery show with his son Victor has a gallery opening on February 9 at the Staley - Wise Gallery in Manhattan. This is exciting for me because not only is Patrick one of my very favorite photographers, I actually had the blessing of working for him in the early 2000s.
Patrick Demarchelier was a French fashion photographer. Born August 14 1943 near Paris & raised in Le Havre, France near Normandy, he moved to Paris in 1975 to pursue his career as a fashion photographer.
At 17, his stepfather bought him his first camera. Demarchelier learned how to develop film, retouch negatives and began photographing friends and weddings. Even though he had no formal training, Demarchelier taught himself the art of photography by studying the work of other photographers and experimenting.
In the 1970s, he moved to Paris to further his career in photography. Initially, he worked as an assistant to photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jacques Guillemet and Hans Feurer before establishing himself as a freelance photographer in the late 1970s.
During his time in Paris, Demarchelier developed his signature style, characterized by clean, elegant compositions and a focus on the beauty and glamour of the fashion world. He quickly gained recognition for his work and began shooting for French Elle magazine, which helped to establish his reputation as one of the top fashion photographers of the era.
He worked with some of the top fashion brands and designers of the time, and his images appeared in numerous magazines and exhibitions, cementing his position as one of the leading voices in the fashion photography world.
Patrick Demarchelier moved to New York City in 1975 to be with his girlfriend. This move marked a turning point in his career, as he began to establish himself as one of the top fashion photographers in the world. In New York, Demarchelier worked with some of the top fashion brands, models, and designers of the time, and his images appeared in major fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle.
In the late 70’s & the 80’s he photographed editorials and covers for almost every fashion magazine. He picked up many top brands advertising campaigns. Calvin Klein, Chanel
It was in NY that he met and worked with Liz Tilberis.
Patrick Demarchelier had a close professional relationship with Liz Tilberis, who was the Editor-in-Chief of Harper's Bazaar magazine from 1992 to 1999. During her tenure at Harper's Bazaar, Tilberis worked closely with Demarchelier on many photoshoots and editorials for the magazine.
Demarchelier and Tilberis had a strong working relationship and collaborated on many projects, producing some of the most iconic images of the 1990s. Tilberis was known for her innovative and creative vision, and she worked closely with Demarchelier to produce images that were beautiful, stylish, and cutting-edge.
Patrick Demarchelier and Anna Wintour have had a close working relationship for many years. Wintour is the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine, and Demarchelier has been one of the magazine's most frequent photographers for many years.
Wintour is known for her highly selective and demanding standards, and she has worked closely with Demarchelier to produce some of the most iconic images in the history of fashion photography. Demarchelier's elegant, refined style and ability to capture the beauty of his subjects has made him a favorite among fashion photographers, and he has been a key contributor to the success of Vogue for many years.
In 1997, Demarchelier was asked to photograph Princess Diana for a special issue of Harper's Bazaar magazine. The shoot took place at Kensington Palace in London, and Demarchelier worked closely with the Princess to capture her beauty, elegance, and vulnerability.
His images of Princess Diana are known for capturing her motherly quality, showcasing her warmth and nurturing spirit. In the images, Diana is often seen with a soft expression, a gentle smile, and a look of compassion in her eyes.
These images show a more personal and intimate side of the Princess, revealing the softer, nurturing aspects of her character that endeared her to so many people around the world. Through Demarchelier's lens, Diana is depicted as a loving and devoted mother, someone who was deeply connected to her children and to the causes she supported.
My Experience with Patrick
I remember vividly this one photo session that we did. We packed up 12 or 15 people on a cool Autumn day from his studio on 21st & 7th. We humped tons of lighting, gaff & camera equipment plus cases & cases of film. This is in 2002 before all the fashion guys went to digital. We drove down to Battery Park and after discussing a change in the shot with the Art Director for Vogue, we decided to load a Nikon F5 with TRI-X 400 and TMax 3200 since they now wanted a gritty grainy rough feel to the images for this editorial. Patrick sat about 15 or 20m feet away from our model on a bench, with camera in one hand and espresso in the other, just shooting away & happily saying in his thick beautiful French accent… “Fabulous” It was a remarkable moment for me as there was no lighting, no big production…. Just the man and his camera and that… Is beauty. I’m very blessed to be able to say that I have worked for one of the biggest fashion photographers who has ever lived.
Patrick Passed on March 31 2022 at the age of 78 & it’s very exciting that his son Victor is carrying on the tradition of amazing photography.