David Seidner 1988

"THE MOD SQUAD, The pick of the knits to make the strongest stateman"
Fall/Winter 1988
Models: Wills Robbins and ?
Ph: David Seidner
Hair: Olivier Castellani

David Seidner died 10 years ago in Miami, amazing artist!


The New York Times
David Seidner, Fashion Photographer, Is Dead at 42
Published: Wednesday, June 9, 1999

David Seidner, a photographer known for his highly stylized fashion shots inspired by moments in art history, died on Sunday at his home in Miami Beach. He was 42.
The cause was AIDS, said the lawyer for his estate, Herbert E. Nass.

Mr. Seidner, born in Los Angeles, was just 19 when his first cover photograph was published in Paris. Two years later he had a one-man show at La Remise du Parc in Paris, and the next year a solo show at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art.

In the 1980's he was under a contract with Yves Saint Laurent. Later his photography was used in advertisements for Bill Blass, Bergdorf Goodman, Revlon and L'Oreal. He contributed regularly to the fashion pages of Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, Italian Vogue, French Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. In 1986 he was commissioned by the Musee des Arts de la Mode in Paris to photograph costumes from its collection. His signature imagery from that period included photographic fragments, paint, shards of glass and reflections. His influence then was the music of John Cage.

In the 1990's Mr. Seidner, who had studied art history and literature and liked to bring what he called a ''philosophical perspective'' to his work, came to be known for his photography based on paintings and sculptures. He also photographed a number of artists.

In 1993 he had a show at the Robert Miller Gallery in Manhattan that featured expressionless black-and-white portraits of artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Eric Fischl, Jenny Holzer, Ellsworth Kelly, Jeff Koons and Joan Mitchell, all made to look like Roman portrait busts. Two years later Robert Miller showed Mr. Seidner's photographs of the fronts and backs of male and female models posed nude like classical statues.

His fashion spreads often featured riffs on art. His last homage to painting, for example, was a spread in Vanity Fair last winter: he coiffed and powdered the models he was photographing until they all looked as if they had walked right out of a John Singer Sargent painting.

Over the last 20 years Mr. Seidner had a dozen solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum and the Pompidou Center in Paris. Next year La Maison Europeenne de la Photographie in Paris, which has 150 of Mr. Seidner's portraits, nudes and fashion photographs in its permanent collection, will have a retrospective of his works.

Mr. Seidner, who was a contributing editor to the art magazine Bomb and wrote for French Vogue, was also the author of a number of books: ''David Seidner: Photographs,'' ''Le Theatre de la Mode,'' ''Eiko and Coppola on Dracula,'' ''David Seidner Nudes'' and ''The Face of Contemporary Art.''

His most recent book, ''Lisa Fonssagrives: Three Decades of Classic Fashion Photography'' (Vendome, 1997) was a collection of 100 pictures of Ms. Fonssagrives, the model, taken by 21 different photographers, from Louise Dahl-Wolfe to Erwin Blumenfeld. His forthcoming books include a catalogue for his Paris retrospective and a book of his photographs of artists' studios.

Mr. Seidner, who had AIDS for 15 years, was a member of the board of the Community Research Initiative on AIDS in New York. Beginning in 1993 his portraits of famous people living with AIDS were used in an advertising campaign for AIDS research. But he was outspokenly critical of certain kinds of AIDS activism.

In The New Yorker in 1993 he wrote an article about the significance of the red ribbon. Its function, he wrote, ''seems to be to alleviate guilt through trickle-down awareness, to make people feel comfortable without having to do anything.''

Mr. Seidner is survived by his companion, Daniel Wenger of Manhattan and Miami Beach; his mother, Ryna Seidner of Los Angeles; a sister, Sheri Seidner Superfon of Culver City, Calif., and a brother, Jaime, of Oakville, Ontario.

Mr. Seidner's last year was a busy one. He was given the Eisenstaedt Award for Portrait Photography by Life magazine and Columbia University. And he finished a series of orchid portraits that were featured in The New York Times Magazine on April 25.

''It's only natural that after spending years in Paris photographing dresses, I'd find myself in Florida photographing orchids,'' he said of his last photographic venture. ''They're nature's couture.''

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