Thursday, February 6, 2014

TBT - Fashion Photographer Patrick Demachelier 1993

"Throwback Thursday" (or TBT as the cool cats call it) seems to have caught on in a pretty good way on most social media. Each Thursday, you post an image from the past, hopefully one that holds meaning to you or your audience. The idea appears harmless enough, and considering how many older images I have that I think are interesting or at least fun, I've decided to incorporate it into my blog posts when I can.

The reasons should be obvious. Lord knows I need to start spending more time here sharing topics and items that are photo-related, and it seems to me these certainly qualify. Also, I'll most always have a good story to go with the pic, usually something describing the odd series of events or happenstance that led to the photo.

Today's will be brief, however, as this is my first one, and I am quickly running out of Thursday daylight!

You may or may not know it (I've certainly said it enough times), but for me, shooting celebs and club life on South Beach back in the 1990's was no big deal. Nothing artistic, simply being in a certain place at a certain time with a camera that had a dependable flash. In fact, a monkey with a camera could...oh all right, all right, I digress...

Yes, it was (and still is) fun meeting well-known people from various walks of life, especially the entertainment business, but I rarely get excited about the idea of rubbing elbows with famous folks. Especially if I can only take grab shots, and not a real creative portrait of them.

Still, there are exceptions. Which brings me to a particular run-in back in 1993 with arguably the number one fashion photographer in the world at the time, Patrick Demarchelier.
Fashion photographer extraordinaire Patrick Demarchelier. Sinatra Bar, Miami Beach, 1993.
It was early evening, and I was mulling about outside of the Sinatra Bar on South Beach. I cannot for the life of me remember anything about the place, other than I had to photograph someone there. I suppose you can dig on Google if you'd like to discover the history of the joint, but I'm pretty sure it was brief.

Out of the blue, walking up the street comes Monsieur Demarchelier.  Oddly enough, he was alone, although I've learned from experience that's not really unusual for people famous in their profession, but outside of the pop culture mainstream. Now this was someone whose work and career I not only admired, but aspired to myself as a fashion shooter.

You better believe I was excited...

As he strolled up to where I was standing, I was caught off-guard by how unassuming and humble he was. He almost seemed clueless about what was going on nearby and if he should even check it out. As if he was out for a walk and had nothing better to do.

Our conversation was brief, and no, did not involve me acting like a fan or much about photography at all, for that matter. I greeted him (by name, of course) and wouldn't you know it, he seemed genuinely surprised I even knew who he was. Perfect. A true gentleman.

We talked about how nice the evening was, maybe a bit about how great the Miami light can be that time of year, this and that, and eventually how lame the club seemed. If I recall, he even decided not to go in. I can't say I had the same luxury. Anyway, a quick snap of him looking debonaire, and we both went our separate ways.

And so, this photo will always remind me of my quick brush with true greatness in the very field I had chosen for myself.

BTW, Patrick's amazing work is available online: