Lucien Clerque first discovered the power of the camera in his difficult adolescence. He witnessed the destruction of his family's house by WWII bombs, and suffered the prolonged illness and death of his mother.
He has spent much of his career taking photos that express loss, death and decay. His most well-known works are female nude torsos from the mid '50s - '70s and bullfight images from the Arles arena, where he met Pablo Picasso, a strong supporter of his early work.
His later work turned to organic abstractions of sand, lace, etc. His work has been influenced by mythology, adventure and what he calls "the mentality of the Mediterranean man."
In 1969 he established the Recontres Internationales de la Photographie at Arles.This event has continued to grow and is considered on of the most important art festivals in the world.
His wife established the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation, a museum of contemporary art in homage to Van Gogh, in Arles.