One of the world’s most famous photographers, Patrick Demarchelier has been at the core of the fashion industry for three decades. The Frenchman’s ability to put his subjects at ease is acclaimed throughout the industry, and is the root of his success as an editorial photographer. He consistently produces impeccably conceived, realised and captured moments on film. He has shot the covers for nearly every major fashion magazine including American, British and Paris Vogue.
Demarchelier has shot also advertising campaigns for a who's who of international fashion and luxury brands, including Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Chanel, Gap, Gianni Versace, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Céline, TAG Heuer, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren and Gianfranco Ferré, among many more.
The photographer told British Vogue, "I learned most by just taking pictures; a lot of pictures. I've made plenty of mistakes, but it's often from your mistakes that you learn most. Being a photographer is like being an athlete. You must practice every day."
Born near Paris in 1943 to a modest family, he spent his childhood in Le Havre with his mother and four brothers. For his seventeenth birthday, his stepfather bought him his first Eastman Kodak camera. Demarchelier learned how to develop film and retouch negatives and soon began shooting friends and weddings.
In 1975, he left Paris for New York where he discovered fashion photography by working as a freelance photographer whilst learning from photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Terry King, and Jacques Guilbert. His fashion work began to garner attention, from publications such as Elle and Marie Claire.
He worked for British Vogue for the first time in September 1992, resulting in a 12-year collaboration with the publication. Demarchelier worked with Grace Coddington during this time and credits her with helping to launch his career, "It was the best magazine in the world, the one you really wanted to work for, so to be with her was a big breakthrough," the photographer told the Daily Telegraph in 2012.
In 2005 and 2008 the photographer shot the Pirelli calendar and in October 2011 Demarchelier released the coffee-table book ‘Dior Couture - Patrick Demarchelier,’ a collection of photographs of Christian Dior Couture pieces ranging from the very first collection by Monsieur Dior to those from Galliano's tenure at the house.
He told the Daily Telegraph in 2012, "When people ask me which is your 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."