Photographer Mark Seliger Discusses New Book "Listen"

Posted by David Ozanich — 2 Mar 2011

seliger2.jpgStill Life, Los Angeles, California November 3, 2009

Fashion critic Cathy Horyn interviews photographer Mark Seliger on the occasion of the release of his new book of photographs "Listen". Seliger is known for his portraits of artists as well as his work for glitzy magazines like Vanity Fair and Italian Vogue. Horyn praises "Listen":

Mark Seliger's collection of nudes, portraits and landscapes is just about the handsomest book of photographs to be published in a while. Every detail of "Listen," from the quality of the binding and endpapers to the selection and reproduction of the platinum-plated prints, is a book-lover's treat.

In a wide-ranging interview that will be of interest to any lover of photography, she asks after the difference between using film versus digital:

Cathy Horyn: With so many changes in photography and publishing, do you feel you can stay on your course?

Mark Seliger: It always returns to why I got involved in photography. It's the experience of making a print, hanging a print, sharing: that's the base. It's what inspired me when I started. That's going to be a keepsake. But photography is based on technology. It's a piece of equipment. The real photographs come from your mind and what you see. I think the great masters always strip it down to as few rules as possible so that the essence is the photograph.

You shoot in film as well as digital?

I shoot a lot in digital. I find it's a different editing process, but I'm lucky in terms of understanding analog well enough that I can use the same procedure in digital. There's a real inertia in portraiture and in fashion, and you have to know when a situation is at that peak and when it starts to go back down. And it's not behind a screen that you're really feeling this connection with someone. You find that moment and then it's over. And you don't get that if you're constantly checking your computer screen. It's really about not leaving that situation.

Photographs from the book are on view at the Steven Kasher gallery in New York until Saturday. You can see a slideshow of his work at W magazine.

listen1.jpgSam, New York, New York May 11, 2010

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