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5 Iconic Celebrity Shots by Mark Seliger

  • Mark Seliger - Brad Pitt, Palm Springs, CA, detail
November 24, 2018
Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice.

One of the most iconic names among celebrity photographers is Mark Seliger. Throughout his more than three-decades-long career, he has managed to capture distinct portraits of various musicians, actors, artists, sportsmen, and politicians. With an astonishing sense for composition and the atmosphere in which the portrayed subject feels most comfortable, Seliger built a specific and recognizable storytelling aesthetic.

The photographs of this prolific figure were featured on magazine covers, in advertising campaigns, and feature articles on numerous occasions. Soon on view at Fahey/Klein Gallery will be a retrospective by featuring a great number of exquisite portraits Seliger made during the years.

The Successful Career

In 1987, Mark Seliger started working for Rolling Stone magazine and from 1992 until 2001 he was their chief photographer. During the same year, the photographer transferred to Condé Nast and published his works on a regular basis in magazines such as Elle, Vanity Fair, GQ, and German and Italian Vogue. A non-profit exhibition space for photography titled 401 Projects was established by himself and Brent Langton in 2011. There, a number of Seliger’s works were published: When they Came to Take My Father: Voices from the Holocaust (Arcade, 1996), In My Stairwell (Rizzoli, 2005), and On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories (Rizzoli, 2016), to name a few.

Mark Seliger Photography at The Fahey/Klein Gallery

This upcoming exhibition will reflect the high level of craftsmanship of Mark Seliger; the way he masterfully captures the celebrities both as ordinary people and as godly creatures whether they are portrayed in their personal environments, public space or in the studio.

The audience will be able to see the celebrity photography by Seliger at The Fahey/Klein Gallery from 29 November 2018 until 19 January 2019. Below, find our 5 highlights from the show!

A New York photographer who did photographs for vanity fair music new york Editors’ Tip: Mark Seliger Photographs

Mark Seliger’s extraordinary portfolio is 30 years in the making. In 1987 Seliger began shooting small assignments for Rolling Stone; in 1992 he became their chief photographer, a position he kept for 15 years. During the course of his time at the magazine, he photographed more than 125 covers. He has captured some of the most iconic images of the most famous and influential faces of our time, including Kurt Cobain, Nelson Mandela, Leonardo DiCaprio, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Emma Stone, Angelina Jolie, Bruce Springsteen, David Byrne, Matthew Barney, Jennifer Lawrence, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Jerry Seinfeld, Jay-Z, Misty Copeland, Amy Schumer, and Paul McCartney.

Featured image: Mark Seliger – Brad Pitt, Palm Springs, CA, detail, 1998. Photograph by Mark Seliger / Courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles.

  • Mark Seliger - LL Cool J, Queens, NY

LL Cool J

This portrait of LL Cool J was produced in 1987. The famous rap artist is depicted in a hoodie and the scene looks like a video clip sequence. Commenting on the photo, Seliger said:

That was probably my first music picture that I ever took for Rolling Stone. I remember going to photograph him in Hollis, Queens, and when I went out there to photograph him, his grandmother answered the door and she had no idea what we were doing and why we were on her doorstep. She came out armed with a broom ready to take us down. But we convinced her that we were there on assignment and she acquiesced, letting us work with her grandson. Much to our surprise, he was still in bed asleep. It was completely raw and unexpected.

Featured image: Mark Seliger – LL Cool J, Queens, NY, 1987. Photograph by Mark Seliger, Courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

  • Mark Seliger - Kim Kardashian, New York

Kim Kardashian

In 2010, reality star Kim Kardashian was captured by Mark Seliger for W magazine. Although the photograph accentuates Kardashian’s voluptuous features covered in silver body paint, she was not satisfied with it, and an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Mrs. Kanye West expressed that she was not an initial fan of the images by saying “I am never getting naked again”.

Nevertheless, the shoot went viral and it became a milestone in Kim Kardashian’s fame.

Featured image: Mark Seliger – Kim Kardashian, New York, 2010. Photograph by Mark Seliger, Courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles.

  • Mark Seliger - Kurt Cobain, Kalamazoo, MI

Kurt Cobain

The following iconic photograph is of the legendary grunge musician Kurt Cobain. He is portrayed in a slightly surreal manner; his head is surrounded by the heads of dolls set against the floral wall.

The shot was produced for Rolling Stone in 1993, the same year Cobain’s band Nirvana gained commercial success with the celebrated album In Utero. The compositional aspect of this particular image is also relevant since it somehow accentuates Cobain’s condition which resulted in his suicide just one year after the portrait was taken.

Featured image: Mark Seliger – Kurt Cobain, Kalamazoo, MI, 1993. Photograph by Mark Seliger, Courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles.

  • Mark Seliger - Dr Dre and Snop Dog, Los Angeles, CA

Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg

In this photo, musicians Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are sitting in the LA hood on a Cadillac de Ville in 1993. During that year, Dre released his hit album The Chronic, while Snoop Dogg was a burgeoning young rapper.

This image can be interpreted as a scene of an introduction of a younger artist by a senior one, where Dr. Dre is acting as a protégé to Snoop Dogg. It tells about the relationships on the rap scene and the importance of mutual support and brotherhood.

Featured image: Mark Seliger – Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg, Los Angeles, CA, 1993. Photograph by Mark Seliger, Courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles.

  • Mark Seliger - Brad Pitt, Palm Springs, CA

Brad Pitt

We are finishing off with a photograph of Brad Pitt that Mark Seliger took in 1998. For this session, the world’s most famous actor is dragged e.g. dressed in women clothes. Seliger was apparently driven by an idea to depict perfect masculine form in a feminine manner in order to show how the garments of opposite sex do not change anything.

Pitt remains as dashing and equally attractive as ever. The gendered aspect of this photograph is intriguing in a broader context of the 1990s, a period during which a majority of people did not accept any form of different expression of identity.

Featured image: Mark Seliger – Brad Pitt, Palm Springs, CA, 1998. Photograph by Mark Seliger, Courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles.