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Remembering Patrick Demarchelier Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

1 April 2022

French fashion and portrait photographer Patrick Demarchelier died Thursday at the age of 78.

His images of the famous, including Princess Diana, Beyonce, Madonna and Jennifer Lopez, appeared in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle and Rolling Stone. He also worked on advertising campaigns for Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Tommy Hilfiger and Carolina Herrera.

Born in Le Havre, France, Demarchelier was self-taught. “I didn’t think about a career. I didn’t plan it. It came to me,” he said in a 2015 interview.

His step-father gave him his first camera when he was in his teens. He quickly put it to use shooting weddings and passport photos.

At 20, he moved to Paris where he found a job working with the Swiss photographer Hans Feurer, who was a Vogue contributor.

'I didn’t think about a career. I didn’t plan it. It came to me.'

Demarchelier started shooting for American Vogue before he followed a girlfriend to New York in 1975. His first cover credit for the magazine came in 1977.

"No one understands anything he says," Vogue fashion editor Grace Coddington once explained. "But he calls the models 'bebe' and says 'fabulous' and 'diveeeeene,' and he makes them feel beautiful."

In 1989 he shot Madonna for Vogue's cover, was featured in the inaugural publication of the American Photographer Master Series and became the personal portraitist of Diana, Princess of Wales. She had discovered his work on a cover of Vogue before making him the first non-Brit to become an official royal photographer. His portrait of her appeared on the cover of Vogue's 1991 December issue.

He had a long and close creative partnership with Coddington but his cover shot of Linda Evangelista for the September 1992 issue of Harper's Bazaar of one eye hidden by an arm holding up an "A" in the masthead ushered in a new aesthetic of the clean, glamorous and unforced.

The French Ministry of Culture named Demarchelier an officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2007, the same year that he received the CFDA Founder’s Award in Honor of Eleanor Lambert.

His exhibit The Cult of Personality was shown at the Petit Palais in Paris in 2009. Staley-Wise recently hosted his most recent show in 2019. In 2011 he published a lavish tome titled Dior Couture.

In 2018, he was the subject of an article in The Boston Globe in which six models and an assistant alleged unwanted advances. He denied the accusations, but his relationship with Condé Nast was terminated.

On his death, numerous models he worked with paid tribute to him on social media. Christie Brinkle wrote, "I loved working with Patrick. I loved just hanging with Patrick on the many trips we did. I just loved him." Kate Hudson added, "I had the pleasure of being photographed by Patrick often and always enjoyed him and his team so much." And Bella Hadid posted, "I am grateful to have been lucky enough to be in front of your lens. Most gentle, most legendary, soft but full of life. You will be missed Patrick. Rest In Peace."

He is survived by his wife Mia, his three sons Gustaf, Arthur, Victor and three grandchildren.

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