With the death of Patrick Demarchelier in the past month it has lead me down a rabbit hole of photography that I haven't necessarily taken a glimpse into before.
First let's talk about a few things that I have noticed since diving a bit into his work. Patrick, being of the old guard, of course is used to operating in the era of film. Most, if not all of his work is in medium format. But in almost all of the recorded footage and recent photos I've seen OF him, he is using digital cameras. This is something that I think tracks with most working photographers of the pre 2000s era. I feel like they
prioritize getting the image over the format the image is on. I guess it also helps when you have a full post production team to manage your output of images as well so that all you have to focus on is the composition and the images will always come out to your specific desires. Something else I have noticed is his likeness to single light setups with a black to create rather wide light ratios in his images. Of course there are out-
liers to this theme but it's something that I have picked up on rather prominently in his photos that was interesting to me.
Finally to the thing that really got my brain churning. There is, to me at least, a certain magic in photos from the fashion photographers that were working in the 90s and beforehand. Of course styles and art changes throughout the years but I believe there's something more to it than just that. You see the same sort of imagery if you look at the likes of Albert Watson or Richard Avedon. Fashion to them seemed to be something more theatric than it is now. Isolating their model and their clothes but using very animated and expressionistic posing to demonstrate the story.
The Depth in their lighting also seems to be more "cinematic" as well. I'm unsure if that's the correct vernacular to use to explore my frame of thinking but to elaborate the amount of depth and intention in their lighting is something I feel is lacking in a lot of imagery I see published now and days. Maybe it's due to the over saturation of uneducated photographers in the market, the lack of budget for these types of shoots or maybe even (dare I say) a dramatic drop in quality from photo editors to produce environments for the best photographers to thrive.
Regardless, the photo world has lost yet another one of it's masters. A true visionary in his craft and someone that I don't feel is matched or replicated in a majority of today's work. Gone but never forgotten, Patrick Demarchelier.