Henry Clarke

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Henry Clarke

Henry Clarke was born in Los Angeles, California in 1918. During the early 1940s, Clarke worked as a window dresser for I. Magnin, a high fashion and specialty goods luxury department store in San Francisco, California. In 1946, Clarke moved to New York and took a temporary job as a background and accessorizing assistant at the Vogue studio. During that time, Clarke had the opportunity of observe the different styles of famous photographers such as Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn and Horst P. Horst.

Clarke became fascinated with photography and enrolled on a course at the New School for Social Research, instructed by Alexey Brodovitch. Clarke learned how to combine the fantasy of fashion with the energy of photo-reportage, and self-taught himself to use the twin-lenses Rolleiflex camera, realizing that the future of photography depended very much on the use of the smaller more adaptable cameras.

Clarke left Vogue and began his career as a freelance photographer. In 1949, he decided to try his luck abroad, and traveled to Paris, France. In Paris, he promptly found work with major fashion magazines like Femina, L’Album de Figaro and Harper’s Bazaar, and with renowned designers like Jean Desses and Molyneux. Photographs in two early-1950s issues of the magazine Kaleidoscope are virtually all that remains of his American beginnings. Clarke is well known for his photographs in black and white in the 1950s.

By mid 1950s, Clarke was working exclusively for Vogue magazine. His photographs captured the elegance and incredible sophistication of the modern woman: young, lively, carefree and seductive. He worked with the most glamorous models of the time such as Suzy Parker, Ann Sainte Marie and Bettina. Clarke also took celebrity portraits of famous women like Coco Chanel, Sophia Loren, Anna Magnani, and Maria Callas. Among other famous women he photographed were the Duchess of Windsor, the Empress of Thailand and Robin Duke.

During the 1960s Clarke was sent by Vogue’s Diana Vreeland, editor of the magazine, to exotic locations such as Syria, Iran, Jordan, India and Mexico where he pushed the limits of exotic color location work, juxtaposing the flamboyant new styles in fashion against famous architectural and archeological sites around the world. Clarke and Vreeland created what is known as “Travel fashion.”

Clarke’s photographs of haute couture, and of the elegant women who wore it, were published in a book titled “L’Elegance des Annees Cinquante.”

Since the 1970s, Clarke became a freelance photographer and participated in various exhibitions. He remained active until his death.

Henry Clarke died of Leukemia in Cannes, France on April 26, 1996, at the age of 77. Clarke left his archives to the Musee de la Mode et du Costume in Paris, France, and named the Pasteur Institute as universal beneficiary of his estate.

(bio http://www.blog.jewelryaccessories.com/fashion-photographers/375-henry-clarke.html)

Henry Clarke

Image

Henry Clarke

Jacques Fath (1912-1954). Evening dress, coat and wide-brimmed hat. The collar three layers of pleated organza flares on a black coat and softens the sheath. Black fabric Fournier. Paris (Madame J. Fath), spring-summer 1956. Model: Dovima. Photography by Henry Clarke (1918-1996), published in Vogue France, March 1956, p. 120-121. Galliera Fashion Museum of the City of Paris.