Friday, November 26, 2010
Photographers flash: Henry Clarke
Parisian Chic, Decadence, Power, Luxury, Pleasure, Enterntainment - it's all there when looking at my all time favourite photographer's 1950's and 60's photographs.
Born in Los Angeles in 1918, Henry Clarke, the renowned fashion photographer, discovered his calling in 1945 whilst working as an accessorist at Condé Nast in New York. During an encounter with the great Cecil Beaton during a photography session at Vogue's studio, Clarke was entranced by the photographic image. He promptly abandoned his fashion job, borrowed a Rolleiflex camera and began taking pictures.
Deciding to try his luck abroad, Clarke moved to Paris in 1949. There his friend, Robert Randall, reintroduced him to the fashion world. He quickly found work at Fémina, L'Album de Figaro and Harper's Bazaar. The next year he began a fruitful collaboration with the French, English and American editions of Vogue that would last more than a quarter-century. With the help of women like Suzy Parker, Ann Sainte Marie and Bettina, the most glamorous models of the day, Clarke captured the elegance of the modern woman: young, lively, carefree and seductive.
He also took celebrity portraits: Anna Magnani, Coco Chanel, Sophia Loren and Maria Callas were among his best known subjects. In the 1960's, Diana Vreeland, the formidable editor of Vogue, sent him to such exotic locations as Syria, Iran, India and Mexico to create exciting fashion layouts. Upon his death in 1996, it was revealed that Henry Clarke had named the Institut Pasteur as universal legatee of his estate. He bequeathed his historical collection of photographs to the Musée de la Mode et du Costume in Paris.