Ex-medical doctor, Norman Seeff, emigrated from South Africa to the United States in 1968 to pursue a new career as a photographer, designer and filmmaker. After three-years in New York capturing stunning images of Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, Richard Bernstein, Johnny Winter, James Taylor and The Band, he relocated to Los Angeles as Art Director at United Artists Records. Two years later he established his own studio and focused on photographing and documenting artists and innovators in the act of creation in the context of his sessions.
Seeff has worked with hundreds of renowned artists and innovators including Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Ike & Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Martin Scorsese, John Huston, Billy Wilder, Sir Francis Crick, Steve Jobs, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys and many others; including Nobel Laureates, space scientists and engineers. The authenticity of his images reflects his skills as a communicator and his ability to create an environment for artists and innovators conducive to the revelation of how they function creatively. This has enabled him to capture the very essence of his subjects.
Utilizing his vast archive of images and over 1000 hours of film and video documenting his sessions, Seeff’s work is currently focused on the exploration of the inner dynamics of creativity as it applies to personal and collective creative excellence.
Source: Morrison Hotel Gallery
South African photographer, Norman Seeff is known for his outstanding black and white photographs of celebrities such as Steve Jobs, Tina Turner, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, Miles Davis, and many more. His work focuses on the exploration of human creativity and the inner dynamics of the creative process. “My whole thing was, it’s not about photography- it’s about communication,”
Seeff tells Rolling Stone
Norman Seeff was born in 1939 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Seeff qualified as a medical doctor in 1965 ad for three years he worked in emergency medicine at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, focusing on the management of traumatic shock. In 1968 Seeff took a turn in his career and immigrated to the United States to pursue his creative passions and artistic abilities.
Shortly after Seeff arrived in New York City, his photographs of the life he encountered on the streets of Manhattan were discovered by graphic designer, Bob Cato. Cato was the former Vice President of Creative Services at Columbia Records. Cato became an important mentor to Seeff and gave him his first major photographic assignment producing images for The Band’s Stage Fright
album. Seeff’s iconic image of the group was reproduced as a poster inserted in the album, which when unfolded, became a popular collectors’ item.
Seeff relocated to Los Angeles at the end of 1971 to become the creative director of United Artists Records
. His innovative approach to collaborative art-direction resulted in multiple Grammy Award nominations for graphic design. In 1973 Seeff opened an independent studio on the strip on Sunset Boulevard. His photographic sessions became legendary. For Seeff, the session became the art-form itself, transforming into a multi-disciplinary process of photography, filmmaking and creative communication. Seeff’s first solo exhibition was at the Morrison Hotel Gallery
in New York and featured photos and videos from these sessions.
Source: Jackson Fine Art