Patrick Demarchelier

Born: Le Havre, France, 1943
Died: Saint Barthélemy, France, 2022

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, VersaceChanel, 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.

Patrick Demarchelier, made notable appearances in various media, including the films “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Sex and the City.” He also played a significant role in the documentary “The September Issue,” providing last-minute photographs for Grace Coddington.

Demarchelier’s talent and contributions to the fashion industry were acknowledged in 2007 when he received the prestigious honour of Officer in l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Literature) from the French Minister of Culture.

However, his reputation faced a setback when in February 2018, seven models accused him of sexual harassment. In response to these serious allegations, Condé Nast made the decision to stop working with Demarchelier for the foreseeable future.

Tragically, Patrick Demarchelier passed away on March 31, 2022, at the age of 78.

Patrick Demarchelier Biography

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Written by Marine Lazarus

Marine Lazarus, an Anglo-French photographer who moved to UK 3 years ago to study journalism at Brunel University in London. Marine is responsible for our Photographers Biographies section.

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