- まとめ買いで【さらに5%OFF】 売れ筋 Children's Books 8/11まで
Remember beauty? When photography began, portrait photography was primarily about showing people at their best. Old American Civil War photographs show proud soldiers in their uniforms about to go to war, or serious young couples about to be separated. Today we seem to live in an age of realism, when photographs of people are considered "better" or more "honest" if you can see their pores and blackhead scars. I'm not saying realism, in itself, is bad; a realistic portrait of a person can tell you more about that person's life than an entire article could (Mary Ellen Mark's photos of the homeless, for example). But portrait photography in general, and celebrity photography in particular, seems to have lost something in this shying away from beauty. Today celebrity portraits either go for shock value (see any David LaChapelle photograph) or play the Look-how-naked-I-am-Pay-attention-to-me game (see almost any Rolling Stone or Maxim magazine cover). David Seidner, whose photos often appeared in Harpers & Queen magazine, takes the opposite track: he creates pictures of people, fully clothed, in gorgeous settings. If you follow pop culture and are use to seeing photos of celebrities wearing old T-shirts and a pair of faded jeans, the pictures in "Portraits" are almost breathtaking to see: lush, sumptuous, extravagant. Most of the pictures in "Portraits" came from a photo essay Seidner did commemorating the recent John Singer Sargent exhibition. Seidner contacted descendants of people who posed for Sargent's paintings, dressed them up in the style of Sargent's time, and took photos of them in the Sargent style (pictures of Samantha and Serena Boardman, Lord Glenconner, and Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni fall into this category). The other photographs in "Portraits" consist of people in formalwear (Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece in his British military uniform, the Miller sisters in haute couture dresses). The result is a book of stunning loveliness. It contains the single best photograph of the great Jessye Norman I've ever seen in my entire life. The Helena Bonham Carter picture was choosen for the millennial exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, as one of the hundred great photographs of the century. The only bad part of looking at "Portraits" is the reminder that Mr. Seidner is no longer with us. The world is a poorer place for losing this man who sees beauty in it.
"Potraits" is the perhaps the greatest achievement in his career, cut short by death not too long after they were completed. He worked for a great deal of time on this project, and anyone purchasing this book should be aware that he was in the grip of terrible illness while shooting, but still managed to realize his vision.
If you're not familiar with the photos, they're based on the famed society portraits of John Singer Sergeant using mostly relatives of those subjects, and one or two models. (Such as the luminous Bernadette Jerkowsi doing a superb Josephine/Odalisque on the cover, and inside.)
This book is a reminder and document of the doggedness of a passionate artist: we should all have such determination. David Seidner is sorely missed.