He’s transformed Jennifer Aniston into Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl (for Harper’s Bazaar), turned Katie Holmes into Jackie O (for New York) and snapped Kim Kardashian in the buff (for W). Now, Mark Seliger is getting retrospective. In the Texan’s new Rizzoli book, Listen, the colorful flashes of fame are replaced with soulful, intense black and whites: There’s New York skyscrapers in the rain, taken from a window; a carcass of bird long dead; naked winter trees, patted with snow. We chatted with the former Rolling Stone photographer before he came to town for Art Basel, to attend an exclusive book signing at Casa Tua Thursday night.
Any favorite picture in particular? The first one — the foggy image of the piers on the West Side Highway — was not only visually interesting to me, but emotionally has a reflective quality. There is also a haunting quality to the landscape taken during a snowstorm on the beach of Coney Island that helped close the book.
What inspired you? The essence is really about letting images and these moments almost come to you rather than seeking them out. A particular type of weather might inspire a reaction to a cityscape that I would not necessarily have noticed immediately.
What is your artistic process like? Each situation really has a different type of process. Much of this book was not premeditated or controlled — it was a sitting or an outing rather than a particular direction.
Tell us about your recent shoot with Jennifer Aniston. It was an idea that she and her hairstylist Chris McMillan had stored away for years. Then, when Jennifer and I decided to work on a project, we thought this would be the perfect approach. From my understanding, Barbra and Jennifer had met to discuss.
Who is your favorite celebrity to photograph? Willie Nelson. I love the record Stardust and his songs truly calm me down.