Notable: Lucien Clergue, Master Photographer, Passes Away at 80

In Black and White Photography, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on December 8, 2014 at 2:09 pm
by Robert Durand, 2001

by Robert Durand, 2001

In the middle of this past November, Lucien Clergue lost his battle to cancer. The art world, particularly photography, felt a small chill. Photos developed a little longer and Digital Cameras spawned glitches. With the passing of Clergue, photography has lost a titan of its craft. Starting with the courage to photograph the artist and celebrity Picasso in 1955, his bravery never wavered as he garnished a world renowned bibliography.

Mr. Clergue was born on Aug. 14, 1934, the only child of parents who divorced when he was 6. Sent to live with relatives in a remote area of France when World War II broke out, he returned during the German occupation to find his neighborhood reduced to rubble and his mother surviving by running a shop that sold food to prostitutes. He became the delivery boy.

Mr. Clergue, who published 75 books, was something of a purist, refusing assignments from Vogue and other fashion magazines to concentrate on art photography. He worked in black and white almost exclusively. His early work embraced Provençal characters, including Gypsies and saltimbanques, the region’s traveling acrobats and harlequins, who were among Picasso’s early subjects as well. His photos of the flamenco guitarist Manitas de Plata, who died this month, helped bring his work to the attention of a global audience.

Clergue is survived by his wife, Yolande, and two daughters, Anne and Olivia.

For More Information on Clergue, check out Paul Vitello’s tribute.

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