David Seidner: From Fashion to Flowers

David Seidner, Tina Chow/Chanel, 1984

David Seidner, Helena Bonham Carter, 1998

David Seidner, Valentino, Italian Vogue, 1984

David Seidner, Pink Orchid, 1999

David Seidner (1957-1999) was best known as a fashion photographer during the 1980s and 90s.  He moved to Paris when he was nineteen, and by the 1990s his work was appearing in Vanity Fair, French Vogue, Italian Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and the New York Times Magazine, among others.

While grunge dominated fashion and fashion photography in the 1990s, Seidner’s formalistic, elegant style recalled the works of such masters as Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, and Lillian Bassman. He was also strongly influenced by art history, as his John Singer Sargent- and Boldini-style portraits demonstrate. One of these photographs, of the actress Helena Bonham Carter, was named one of the twentieth century’s top 100 portraits by the National Portrait Gallery in London.

At the end of his life, Seidner, who died of AIDS in 1999, turned to photographing orchids.  As he said, “It’s only natural that after spending years in Paris photographing dresses, I’d find myself in Florida photographing orchids.  They’re nature’s couture.” [“A Bloom with a View,” New York Times, April 25, 1999]

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