“Take pictures all the time. Don’t worry if you take a bad photograph; you learn more by taking a bad picture than a good one. If you don’t like it, study it and figure out why you don’t like it. You’ll learn from your mistake.” -Patrick Demarchelier
Patrick Demarchelier, a French fashion photographer became the first non-British official portraitist of a Royal — Princess Diana. He is renowned for his pictures of supermodels too.
Patrick Demarchelier photographed fashion, celebrities with and without high fashion couture.
Top row l-r: Linda Evangelista Harper’s Bazaar, September 1992 cover, Scarlet Johansson, New York 2006, Naomi Campbell, Vogue, May 1992 and Princess Diana, 1990.
Bottom row l-r: RuPaul, 1998; Stephanie Seymour in St. Barthelemy, 1989; FKA Twigs, Vogue, January 2015; below FKA Streaks of Genius, Vogue, September 2017; Christy Turlington, 1990 and Gigi Hadid, 2017.
Patrick Demarchelier had a long and prosperous relationship with Grace Coddington, a fashion editor at both American and British Vogue.
His photograph of Linda Evangelista for the September 1992 Harper’s Bazaar cover marks the beginning of his stellar career. The model blocked one eye with her forearm so her hand is in a perfect position to hold up the third “A” in the magazine’s name.
Liz Tiberis, Harper’s new editor, declared a new and clean aesthetic that is glamorous and unforced.
Patrick Demarchelier was the personal portraitist of Diana, Princess of Wales, and his photographs of her, like this one from 1990, often had an unstudied aspect that crystallized her informal personality. One photo showed the Princess sitting on the floor in 1990. She wears a strapless gown and a diamond tiara and hugs her knees.
Patrick Demarchelier asked by Keira Knightly for Interview magazine said, “I like to do the pictures before people get too self-conscious. I like to be spontaneous and get a shot before the subject thinks too much about it.”
As Patrick Demarchelier’s career continued to rise, he emerged along with the supermodels. One of his photographs show Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Karen Mulder, Elaine Irwin, Niki Taylor, Yasmeen Ghauri, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, and Tatjana Patitz posed on a painter’s ladder for the cover of American Vogue in April 1992.
The Pirelli calendar is an annual celebration of photography. Patrick Demarchelier photographed it three times — in 2005 in Brazil, in 2008 in China and with Peter Lindbergh, the 50th-anniversary edition in 2014.
Awards and Sex and the City
The French Ministry of Culture named Patrick Demarchelier an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. He received the Founders Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America both in 2007.
The first big screen movie of the much-loved television series Sex and the City (2008) had Patrick Demarchelier playing himself photographing Carrie Bradshaw (Sara Jessica Parker) in her wedding gown for Vogue.
In 2009, the Petit Palais in Paris mounted a retrospective of Patrick Demarchelier’s work named the Cult of Personality.
Patrick Demarchelier said in a New York Time article published in 2016, “I like to photograph the positive way of life. I like the beauty, the beauty inside.”
Sources: New York Times, NPR, Vogue, The Guardian, Staley Wise Gallery.
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