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Norman Seeff 'Sessions in Sound' Exhibition

 

LONDON New exhibition ‘Sessions in Sound: Photographs by Norman Seeff’ is set to unveil at London’s Proud Galleries this month. The exhibition - from 23 rd November 2018 to 13th January 2019 - features Seeff’s portrayals of influential musical icons. Lucy Reid takes a preview.    lucy@redcarpetmagazine.co.uk

 

All Images courtesy of: Proud Galleries © Norman Seeff

As these depictions show, Seeff intimately captured the spontaneity of his subjects with alluring engagement whether it be a pensive Mick Jagger or a leisurely Johnny Cash (above).  Norman Seeff moved to New York aged 29 to pursue his passion, after training as a doctor in his native South Africa. Renowned album cover designer, Bob Cato, gave him his first major assignment – to photograph Robbie Robinson and The Band for the liner notes of their album ‘Stage Fright’.

 

 'Chelsea Hotel Color', Blondie, 1979,  Proud Galleries © Norman Seeff

 

Despite an inauspicious start - Seeff got lost on his way to Woodstock and arrived  hours late - Cato’s work was used on the band’s album cover. Seeff had arrived.

In 1973, Seeff opened his own studio on Sunset Boulevard and saw him work with a whole spectrum of musicians.

 

'Mick Jagger', 1972, Proud Galleries © Norman Seeff

 

In 1985, Seeff photographed musician Ray Charles and later recalled how “Ray was testy at the start of the session. Ultimately, he loved the process and ended up calling me ‘brother’. It was a seminal session.”

 

'Reflection', Joni Mitchell, 1975, Proud Galleries © Norman Seeff

 

The exhibition also features a selection of unseen photographs, including a portrait of Patti Smith from Seeff’s 1969 acclaimed photoshoot with Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe. This session has arguably become one of Seeff’s most famous and he cited Patti Smith: “After Robert’s death, Patti told me these shots come closest to her remembrance of the profundity of the love between them.”

 

 'Robert & Patti II', Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, 1969, Proud Galleries© Norman Seeff

 

On his creative ethos Seeff says he constantly seeks “a place with my subjects that defines pure presence, where we can stand and just look at each other without any filters.”

 

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