Animal Portfolio by Patrick Demarchelier
If ever there was evidence of the remarkable power in the eye of the beholder, it can be seen in the work of Patrick Demarchelier.
Long tan legs and winsome faces are the most common subjects for the globe-trotting photographer whose wonderful eye for the dramatic fashion photograph has made him more famous than many of the designers and models he shoots for countless fashion glossies. What is less known about him is his affection for animals — not just dogs and cats — but wild animals, creatures of the bush, the kind you can’t pet without risking a limb and that doesn’t always enjoy being photographed.
Demarchelier was born in Normandy and began taking his first pictures at age 18. Those early shots put him on a path that would eventually land him steady work in Harper’s Bazaar and win him a reputation for subtle manipulations of light that lend his pictures a sharp, lifelike vibrancy. When he is not in his Soho office in lower Manhattan, he is probably relaxing in one of his favorite spots — the Caribbean island of St. Bart’s, possibly trekking through the deserts of Africa, or taking shots of famous subjects such as Madonna and Liz Hurley with animals, it’s a way of blending what he describes as two of his most favorite subjects: “the wild and the beautiful.”
Demarchelier’s pet dachsund, Puffy, goes everywhere with him, even flying on the Concorde. “Puffy’s a great traveller. He loves St. Bart’s,” says Demarchelier. And who wouldn’t? Puffy came into Demarchelier’s life a year ago. “My son went out to buy fish and came back with a dog,” he says. “My wife loves him. If you look at his expression, the eyes — the way they look at you — you can see he’s a very smart dog and full of love.”
On a camping trip to the Tanzanian outback, Demarchelier watched these three giraffes, whose legs are almost as long as a supermodel’s, as they took a break from munching on leaves to watch him. Each day the curiosity of the tall trio got a little greater and they allowed the photographer a bit closer.
Demarchelier was so fascinated by their unruffled regality that he patiently waited and waited for the right moment to take this photo. “It took me four days to get this shot,” says Demarchelier.