Photographer Patrick Cline passed away earlier this year, leaving behind an indelible mark on the design industry as an illustrious interior photographer and co-founder of Lonny, the first digital-only interior design magazine, where he later served as the title’s cinematographer for three years. Beyond his professional accomplishments, Cline is remembered by friends and collaborators for his striking and largely self-taught approach to capturing spaces and as a champion of new voices and perspectives in the design industry.
Cline, who grew up in the UK, discovered a passion for images when he was an 18-year-old apprentice working in a studio under Spitalfields Market in East London. This experience served as the genesis for the unique style that would define his place in interior photography – unlike many of his contemporaries, Cline shot almost exclusively on film with available light. Her eye for spaces and laid-back attitude on set eventually caught the attention of renowned designers such as Albert Hadley, Kemble celery, Kelly Wearstler, Mark D. Sikes and more, whose work he has documented for titles like vanity lounge, Architectural Summary and Elle Decor.
In 2009, Cline and a close friend Michael Adams decide to embark on their own adventure. The couple had met while they were both attending a photoshoot for Domino, and later kicked Lonny off after reflecting on a napkin at a Chili’s restaurant one night – a fusion of their hometowns, London and New York. (Long after the idea morphed into a household name in the design world, the duo still made visiting a Chilean in every city they visited a tradition.)
“I literally felt cooler just knowing him,” Adams says. “He made work fun and I felt incredibly lucky to be able to work with him to earn a living. I always wanted to make him proud.
Courtesy of Michelle Adams
The couple scrambled to get the fledgling magazine off the ground, with Cline trading photo development lab sessions in exchange for ads in the yet-to-be-created publication, while Adams asked for favors from stylish sources she encountered through his previous role as editorial assistant at Domino. In the end, the release was a labor of love for Cline, who photographed every element of each issue himself, often capturing up to 40 images per shot (“which is simply unheard of”, says Adams) and privileging the natural, lived in grace of the subject’s houses rather than highly stylized plans.
“We had so many adventures together and laughed a lot every time we worked together,” Adams says. “He was so proud that we were able to make Lonny a real business. I felt proud to have Pat in my corner and am so grateful that we were able to keep our friendship alive all these years.
Designate Kemble celery first met Cline during his early years at Lonny and remembers the photographer as an early proponent of the relaxed approach to capturing interiors that has become mainstream today. “He found a way to show his personality and his warmth in spaces that were actually lived in,” she says. “It wasn’t set and sustained and styled. It was shooting halls like it was someone telling a story 20 years before. [it became popular]when it was the most avant-garde style.
Kemble then worked with Cline on a variety of projects over the years and even traveled with him to the Dominican Republic to shoot a resort she had designed for clients who were friends of the family. Her passion for photography, she says, didn’t stop at interiors, or at the end of the working day. After a full day of filming, she says Cline grabbed his camera and set off for the nearest town, where he mingled with the locals and took photos of his surroundings. “As a photographer, that’s what made him so talented: he could quickly find the purpose of the poem and compose it,” says Kemble.
As friends and collaborators of Cline, Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason of Brooklyn-based interiors and lifestyle brand AphroChic first hired the photographer to shoot a product line nearly 10 years ago, drawn by the moving quality of Cline’s images. The small project was the start of a years-long partnership: Cline went on to capture the images for the husband and wife duo’s first book, Remix: Decorating with culture, objects and soulas well as their upcoming title, AphroChic: Celebrating the Heritage of the Black Family Homewhich will be published in November.
Later in their friendship, Cline’s offer to lend his New York apartment overlooking Bryant Park to the couple was the experience that led them to move to the city. Professionally, he also took the opportunity to mentor interns and junior staff members of AphroChic and dispel harmful stories that black people are more difficult to photograph due to light qualities. and film color, which the couple say is often a reason photographers quote to find projects featuring difficult black subjects. “What we heard from him was, ‘That’s not a real thing,'” Mason says.
“It’s very important because, like everything in America, unfortunately, even in photography and the interior design world, it’s not very diverse,” Hays says. “Patrick understood that AphroChic was deeper than pretty pictures or pretty products – that it was something that Bryan and I worked to say, to disrupt an industry in which we are not seen or featured. believed in it.”
For Hays and Mason, Cline’s ability to produce some of the most exceptional work in the industry, while prioritizing genuine people and relationships above all else, is perhaps the strongest legacy he leaves. behind him. “It’s something that all of us who live in New York and work in the design industry know: you can have a lot of collaborators, you can have a lot of knowledge, you can have teammates, but you don’t have not always friends,” Mason explains. “Patrick understood, from the beginning, really, how to be a friend.
Homepage image: A self-portrait of Patrick Cline | Patrick Cline