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|Known for||Photography/Art Direction - Portraiture, Fashion and Beauty photography|
Clive Arrowsmith is a celebrated London-based international photographer. Born in North Wales, he currently lives in London. Clive gained renown documenting the fashions, styles, and celebrities of the 1970s onwards. Arrowsmith’s photographs display his knack for seeing things differently, particularly on the lighting front.
"Clive Arrowsmith is the Caravaggio of the 21st century. He creates magic and dreams, he is the master of light." Marcella Martinelli, Fashion director
"Clive is like the St. Francis of photography - he can charm the birds right out of the trees, but then tells better stories. His work combines not only a creative mind and technical excellence, but most importantly, a real connection with his subjects." Michael Daks, Professor of Photography at Paris College of Art & Istituto Marangoni, Paris
Arrowsmith’s work has been featured in British and French Vogue, Harpers, The Sunday Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire USA and many more.
Clive Arrowsmith trained at art school (Queensferry Art School). At the weekends he would hang out with students, Paul, John, George and Stewart, from Liverpool Art School, who went on to become The Beatles. After Queensferry, he was awarded a scholarship by Kingston College of Art to study painting, illustration and graphic design. After a brief stint of exclusively painting he found he could not make a living so he looked for a job. His professional life began working on the legendary sixties music show Ready, Steady, Go where he became art director and through this started taking photographs behind the scenes (and was reunited with The Beatles when they appeared on the show) . He gradually developed a broad portfolio and, after photographing the Royal College of Art Fashion Shows, he started working for the innovative magazine Nova. His first job was to travel to the North of England and photograph the painter L. S. Lowry. He then started to focus on Fashion Photography and began working for Harpers & Queen and progressed onto Vogue where he worked with Grace Coddington from 1970 shooting fashion, beauty and portraits. Soon after he swept onto the international fashion scene with his camera and his eye for the psychedelic. It was the time of Barbarella and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Clive who didn't think of rules and parameters, went places no one else was going. He was immediately asked to shoot for Vogue in London and was soon photographing the Paris collections fashion shows, which had been the preserve of other long-established photographers for years. Clive had arrived and, by 1970, he was travelling the USA with Grace Coddington shooting for British Vogue. His style would become the stuff of legend. As long-time collaborator Grace Coddington put it in her 2002 book Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue: "Clive could always come up with a psychedelic vision to suit the mood of far-out fantasy in fashion. In one sitting, he was able to capture not only the romance of a Dior coat but the futurism of Pierre Cardin". He then branched out into commercial photography and directing, winning The Silver Lion at Cannes for his Direction of Hamlet cigars commercial. He has worked for many fashion publications since then and is one of only a few photographers who have twice been given the commission to shoot the Pirelli Calendar. He currently shoots advertising, celebrity, beauty and fashion photography in the UK and internationally. He has also created many album covers including that of Band on the Run for Wings.
He has photographed a rollcall of fashion designers including Yves San Laurent, Zandra Rhodes, Yamamoto; world-renowned musicians and bands like David Bowie, Mick Jagger, The Beatles; actors including the likes of Michael Caine, Tom Hardy and Charlotte Rampling and a wealth of public figures such as the Dalai Lama and Prince Charles.
Clive first saw Ann Schaufuss walking down the stairs at a party in the 70s. He describes a light all around her, and how he knew that he wanted to photograph her again and again. The two worked and lived together for many years.
In 2015, Arrowsmith - Fashion, Beauty and Portraits was published by ACC Editions From the New York review of Books "Clive Arrowsmith is not a photographer that one can easily describe but it is safe to say that he is part Avedon, Hiro, Mapplethorpe, Ritts, Bourdin, Scavullo, Coffin, and more. His influences are vast , and his output is nothing less than astounding and prodigious. What is so arresting about this collection is that so much of it is untampered with in terms of retouching or Photoshop. These are photographs that are of the "warts and all" variety—none are truly disturbing unless you only seek perfect skin, unwrinkled faces, and not a pore in sight. Yes, you can see the powdered faces, crevices, and less than perfection, but this is reality in many ways and then there is some fantasy that comes along with it almost as a counterpoint to the hard truths as seen through his lens. Be aware that the book is laser focused on images meaning not the clothes, not really even the models, though named here and there, this is all about that instant when you can almost hear the click of the shutter. The images are mesmerizing if not hypnotic. The viewer will be totally drawn into this body of work that spans decades and only partially exhibits this man’s enormous gifts as a photographer. Even the most seasoned fashionphile will get lost in the images and forget to even think of what designer, what ad, which model, or even when these photos were taken. This book clearly demonstrates that photography can be raised to an art form even when photographing fashion and beauty. "
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