What do you get when you take two of fashion’s most dynamic personalities and give them free-reign to shake up the interview format? The latest MDX gives the floor to Writer/Director/Actress Rie Rasmussen as she interviews legendary photographer Patrick Demarchelier. Their lively conversation manages to inform as well as excite and it gives an eye into the career of one of fashion’s seminal image makers.
One Iconography: Rie Rasmussen interviews Patrick Demarchelier
Interview curated by Christopher Michael @ One Management
Design by Stephan Moskovic
Rie Rasmussen: We have one of the world’s most iconic photographers, 2 decades of being on top in the fashion industry… if you think about the idea that you have worked for so many years and been considered relevant in magazines and advertising alike, what does that make you think about yourself ?
Patrick Demarchelier: I don’t think about myself, no.. The way I work, I like a challenge every day, I like to renew myself all the time. I change things all the time, and change the picture and the way I work and that’s why I think it is that I’ve worked well for so long.
Rie: Who was the greatest influence for you in the beginning?
Patrick: I think the very classic photographers, Richard Avedon or Irving Penn, I love Jeanloup-Sieff… and I love Robert Frank but he does more of like a reportage… but I like a lot of photographers, I really appreciate art and good work in general. Any photographer if their work is really beautiful, I like it.
Rie: It seems to me that even though you experiment a lot, you’ve stayed current because your work has a timeless quality, something you can’t put age on… even looking at your work from the 80’s and 90’s, I could look at it and say it’s an editorial from a year ago or today…
Patrick: It’s the way you are inside, the way you like things, you project yourself… I like the shape, I like human beings in general, I like everybody, old people, young people, I like men, women…I like to project people… Photography is about what you like, I try to do different pictures but also, like some pictures from the book, they are just a very simple picture… I love dancing, I love ballet, I love music so I like musicians also. I like everything.
Rie: So it would seem that maybe you are a good photographer because you have such a love for life… Have you ever thought while you were in a moment photographing something, “This is the moment of female sexuality, empowerment, sensuality”?
Patrick: Not really because sensuality is everywhere, it’s a moment, it’s the eyes, it’s a look, it’s the spirit.. it’s not really a ‘thing’.. Sometimes I feel as though I shoot too much fashion, I’d like to do more people and more interesting people… with models and actors it’s basically the same to me, they’re both interesting… I like to shoot artists also.
Patrick: At the time the magazines used them more for the covers, and the time was different the girls were more like a woman than model. Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford… these girls weren’t really model type girls they were more like a personality, interesting people. Also at the time Vogue used them for the cover more, now it’s more actresses.. they don’t want the girls to be stars too much, like we used to do you know… The market now is more and more young girls, they walk well but they pass quick too. New girls every year, they push people out more. If you see the ads, there are a lot of the older girls doing the ads now..
Rie: And how did you feel about switching to Digital?
Patrick: I don’t mind digital, it’s interesting, it changed everything and it’s the new way to work. In one way it’s more easy, you can do the picture twice, control the color more, everything. Film was more private, I still shoot film sometimes for private pictures.
Rie: And you have a book signing tonight for your new book…
Patrick: Yes it’s the Petit Palais from the Paris exhibition, it’s a year late but it’s finally coming out. Mostly it’s sold in Paris. (The title is “Patrick Demarchelier images et mode au Petit Palais”)
Rie: Great, we are all looking forward to it, more iconic Demarchelier! One more question, you and your wife created a new generation photographer in your son… do you see yourself in your son?
Patrick: No, he’s developed his own style, he’s a very good photographer, very arty and I can see he has his own style so that’s very good. He learned from me but he’s worked on his own, his own style, he’s very good…