Mark Seliger




Editorial photographer Mark Seliger is celebrated for his portraiture of some of the most significant names in the entertainment world. Seliger has created a number of album covers and directed short films and music videos during a career that has seen him employed by leading magazines and brands world-wide.

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Early Life

Mark Seliger was born in Amarillo, Texas, in 1959. In 1964 he moved with his parents, two older brothers and younger sister to Houston, where he attended Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. An early interest in photography arose when his brother Frank gave him his Diana camera and the young Mark soon discovered a fascination for the darkroom, developing his pictures in the family bathroom. Formal education in the medium came later when Seliger attended East Texas State University and studied the history of documentary photography.

Photographic Career

The artist’s studies led him into a career in editorial photography. After moving to New York in 1984, he landed a job shooting for Rolling Stone magazine just three years later. In 1992 Mark Seliger became chief photographer for Rolling Stone, and during his 10-year tenure shot over 125 covers featuring stars as diverse as the Beastie Boys, Drew Barrymore, Johnny Cash, Patti Smith and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The working relationship that he developed with design director Frank Woodward continues today and has led to collaborative projects on music videos for artists including Elvis Costello and Lenny Kravitz.

In 2002 Seliger signed a contract with Condé Nast publications, and since then has remained a significant contributor to their magazines including Vogue, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair. Seliger has worked on advertising campaigns for clients including Ralph Lauren, Diesel, Elizabeth Arden, HBO, MTV and Sony Music. Among the names he has immortalised with his award winning portraits are Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Kurt Cobain, Muhammad Ali, Barack Obama and The Dalai Lama.

His monograph When They Came to Take My Father (1996) features Seliger’s photographs and narratives from holocaust survivors. In My Stairwell (2005) is a collection of stripped down portraits of cultural figures and artists that Seliger captured over a period of years in the exposed-brick stairwell of his West Village studio.

Seliger’s love of photographic processes continues, and in 2006 the artist rented a space in the building next door to his studio into which he built a darkroom. He now uses the platinum palladium process to create large scale, 30 x 40 inch prints, giving his portraits a dramatic and timeless quality. Seliger’s powerful, seductive and elegant portraiture has kept him in demand as a go-to-photographer for over 25 years, creating a catalogue of fame and glamour that will go down in photographic history alongside other great names in portraiture such as David Bailey, Annie Leibovitz, Terry O’Neill, and Irving Penn. He has gained numerous prizes, including the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award.