Lucien Clergue was a French photographer. He was Chairman of the Academy of Fine Arts, Paris for 2013.
In 1949, he learned the basics of photography. Four years later, at a corrida in Arles, he showed his photographs to Spanish painter Pablo Picasso who, though subdued, asked to see more of his work. Within a year and a half, young Clergue worked on his photography with the goal of sending more images to Picasso. During this period, he worked on a series of photographs of travelling entertainers, acrobats and harlequins, the « Saltimbanques ». He also worked on a series whose subject was carrion.
Clerque’s friendship with Picasso lasted until Picasso's death. Clergue's autobiographical book, Picasso My Friend, looks back on important moments of their relationship.
Clergue also illustrated books, among them a book by writer Yves Navarre. Clergue took many photographs of the gypsies of southern France, and was instrumental in propelling the guitarist Manitas de Plata to fame.