Lucien Clergue (August 1934) is a French photographer.
He is rooted in Mediterranean culture. Clergue began taking photographs in 1953—at the age of just nineteen. He quickly achieved renown, but he declined offers from Paris-Match and Vogue, adhering to a vocation as an artist. Clergue’s photographs have been widely exhibited, including in a legendary show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1961, which was the last exhibit organized by Edward Steichen. Clergue was awarded the Legion of Honor in 2003, and in 2005 he was bestowed with a Lucie award for Lifetime Achievement in Fine Art Photography. In 2007, Clergue was granted membership in the Académie des Beaux-Arts, becoming the first photographer to join this august body.
Clergue is inventive, a master of composition and the use of light and shadow. The resulting images look effortless and natural; they are clean, sensuous yet pure, and attain a quiet, understated elegance. Clergue’s nudes have attained iconic status, and so have his portraits of his lifelong friend, Pablo Picasso. Just as arresting, though, are Clergue’s cityscapes and landscapes.