Patrick Demarchelier was born to a modest family in 1943 in Le Havre, France. For his seventeenth birthday, his stepfather bought him his first Eastman Kodak camera. Soon after, he learned how to develop film, retouch negatives and began shooting friends and weddings.
He discovered fashion photography by working as a freelance photographer and working with influential photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Terry King, and Jacque Guilbert. Very soon, his work caught the attention of magazines, and at the end of the 1960s, his work got published in Elle and Marie Claire Magazines.
In 1975, he left Paris for New York to follow his girlfriend. There he soon established himself a reputation in fashion and portrait photography and worked with Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Armani for which he shot, amongst others, Janet Jackson, Nicole Kidman, Madonna and Hilary Clinton.
He became one of Condé Nast’s official photographers and worked with Vogue and Allure Magazine as well as shooting covers for major fashion magazines such as RollingStone, Glamour, Life, Newsweek, Elle and Mademoiselle.
In 2005 he photographed the Pirelli Calendar, and was commissioned for the 2007 one.
Influenced by the classics of photography and painting, Patrick Demarchelier liked to play with light, lines and forms of the human body.
“Beauty is everywhere”, he said, “you only have to open your eyes”.
His photographs have been published and shown worldwide and his art prints are becoming collector’s items. Some of his most famous pictures are shots of Christy Turlington in New York in 1992, of Nadja Auermann in Paris in 1994, and in New York in 1995.
In 2007, the French Minister of Culture Christine Albanel, honored Patrick Demarchelier as an Officer in l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.