Patrick Demarchelier is dead: Princess Diana’s fashion photographer

Patrick Demarchelier is dead: Princess Diana’s fashion photographer

What actually makes a fashion photographer? Not the attitude of an intrepid reporter, anyway. Rather, it is usually about making people who already look great look even better. Patrick Demarchelier, who died on Wednesday in St. Barth at the age of 78 as a result of cancer, was a master of this discipline. “I like the beauty of life, the beauty of people, of animals, of everything,” said the photographer in 2007. It has little to do with depicting reality, but rather with an aestheticization that, in his generation, all too often turns into an unfussy Aestheticism culminated.

Alphonse Kaiser

Responsible editor for the department “Germany and the World” and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin.

No wonder news of his death prompted a flurry of condolences on Instagram. From Marisa Berenson to Christy Turlington, from Amber Valletta to Gigi Hadid, models expressed their grief on Thursday, including in the form of covers that he helped propel many young women to stardom. “I will always remember our shoots,” wrote Claudia Schiffer on Instagram. “I will miss his enthusiastic ‘bebe’ and ‘genius’,” she wrote, referring to the French photographer’s English accent.

Demarchelier, who was born in Le Havre on August 21, 1943, went to Paris at the age of 20. Initially he worked as a photo assistant for, among others, Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Swiss fashion photographer Hans Feurer. In 1975, Demarchelier opened his studio in New York and worked his way up through the fashion magazines. For years he was senior photographer at Harper’s Bazaar before moving to rival publisher Condé-Nast and working for Vogue, Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair, and others.

He didn’t disappoint Diana

Princess Diana became aware of him through a “Vogue” title. In 1989 she hired him as her personal photographer – the first non-British person to photograph the royal family in private. He didn’t disappoint her. The portraits, also featuring her sons William and Harry, grew more beautiful than beautiful and helped stylize Diana as a saint of the secular age. In any case, Demarchelier also qualified with these photos for advertising shots – and worked for Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Louis Vuitton, among others, which, in addition to fame, also brought him a lot of money.

His greatest honor probably didn’t come when he photographed record covers for Madonna and Janet Jackson, or when he was appointed “Officier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres” in Paris in 2007 in recognition of his achievements. His appearances in moving images were also more popular than his books and exhibitions: in the film “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006), fashion magazine boss Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) mentions him by name. He made a cameo appearance in the film adaptation of Sex and the City (2008) when Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is photographed in a wedding dress for Vogue. Incidentally, the train of the lush dress drapes somewhat awkwardly for the shoot André Leon Talley, who also recently passed away.


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