He was Princess Diana’s favourite photographer. An artist who captured her as a seductive, self-confident woman. A princess beaming with joy. A pride and joyful mother with her two sons. As if her sadness, her depression and her insecurity had never existed. “We became friends,” said Patrick Demarchelier. “She was funny and kind, but fundamentally she was a very simple woman who liked very simple things.”
The French photographer, who was contacted by the Princess of Wales in 1989 after she saw one of his images on the cover of Vogue, took some of the most fascinating and memorable portraits of her. Demarchelier even became Diana’s personal portraitist – the first non-British official photographer of the British royal family.
ASSISTING HENRY CARTIER-BRESSON AND HANS FEURER
Patrick Demarchelier (1934-2022) was given his first own camera at the age of 17, and from an initially vague interest in photography, he soon developped a passion and a clear objective for his professional future, which he was able to demonstrate after moving from Normandy to Paris, where he worked in the photo lab of Publicis and assisted Henri Cartier-Bresson, the co-founder of the world-renowned photo agency Magnum, as well as Swiss photographer Hans Feuer, who worked for Vogue Paris, Elle and Numéro.
Demarchelier started to take his own fashion photographs and was soon gracing the pages of Elle and Marie Claire. He established his own distinctive visual aesthetic and became one of the world’s most famous fashion photographers.
HIS LIFE IN NEW YORK AND HIS INTERNATIONAL BREAKTHROUGH
In 1975, his move to New York coincided with his collaboration with Condé Nast and his international breakthrough. Since the late 1970’s, his work, which combined his signature ease and elegance, has appeared in magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour, GQ and Rolling Stone. He also shot the pictures for the prestigious Pirelli Calendar 2005 and 2008.
The Frenchman lived in New York with his wife Mia, a Swedish model with whom he had three sons, until 2022. He died on 31 March 2022 on St Barth’s.
Patrick Demarchelier’s works are represented in numerous private and public collections and are exhibited in museums and fairs worldwide.
American writer Glenn O’Brien described Demarchelier as “a worshipper of female beauty”.
PATRICK DEMARCHELIER EXHIBITION IN BERLIN
An exhibition conceived together with Demarchelier in 2021 will be presented in the prestigious CAMERA WORK Gallery in Berlin from 8 October to 19 November 2022. For this, the French photographer provided CAMERA WORK unprecedented insights into his archive, and in collaboration with him, 42 impressive works from three decades (1987-2017) have been selected. Of these, 37 photographs will be exhibited for the first time. After 2014, 2016, and 2019, this is Demarchelier’s fourth – and after his death his first worldwide – solo exhibition at CAMERA WORK Gallery, which exclusively represents him in Germany.
Natalia, 2005. © Patrick Demarchelier / Courtesy of CAMERA WORK Gallery
DEMARCHELIER IN HIS OWN WORDS
“When people ask me which is my favourite portrait, they expect it to be Diana or someone famous. But the answer is my dog Puffy. They think I mean Puff Daddy. No, it is the dog.”
“When you are a photographer, you work all the time, because your eye is the first camera.”
“My stepfather gave me a Kodak camera when I was 17 yeas old. I started working at a local photo store in Le Havre, France, taking passport pictures and photographing weddings.”
“The dog is the perfect portrait subject. He doesn’t pose. He isn’t aware of the camera.”
VIDEO: PATRICK DEMARCHELIER’S BEST SHOTS
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH DEMARCHELIER AT HIS EXHIBITION IN PARIS
Take a look at an unusual Patrick Demarchelier exhibition which took place in Paris in 2008.
Cover photo: Cindy Crawford, New York, 1990. © Patrick Demarchelier / Courtesy of CAMERA WORK Gallery
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