KMR Arts is currently showing the platinum prints of legendary photographer Mark Seliger. His iconic portraits of rock stars and celebrities are a never-ending source of joy to look at.
Mark Seliger was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas. Some say that his Southern charm and warmth are the source of his connectedness with his subjects. His vibe makes you want to trust him. Mark attended the High School for Performing & Visual Arts in Houston, and then studied the history of documentary photography at East Texas State University. He later moved to New York City where he soon became very much in demand by all of the top magazines.
At Rolling Stone magazine, he produced more than 125 covers. His striking portraits captured the heart and soul of Mick Jagger, Jerry Seinfeld, Lenny Kravitz, Curt Kobain, Keith Richards, Susan Sarandon, David Byrne, Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, President Obama, and the Dalai Lama. And he’s got stories to tell about every photo session.
This year Mark Seliger has had his work exhibited in shows in New York, Paris and Los Angeles. And now he has a show in Washington Depot. How did this happen? Enter Kathryn McCarver Root…
Kathryn McCarver Root grew up in Memphis, attended college in Virginia, majoring in French, and landed an internship at Esquire magazine in New York City. During her lunch hour she would borrow books from the magazine’s great collection of photo books. This position led to 20 years as a photo editer in the magazine publishing world.
Kathryn began working with Mark Seliger in the late 80s at Esquire, then US Weekly, and later at InStyle magazine. Their professinal relationship continued to grow over the years, and when his 30-year retrospective came out in a large book published by Harry Abrams, he acknowledged her. They have a good connection built on trust and respect and have remained friends.
In 2007, Kathryn opened KMR Arts in Washington Depot, a gallery specializing in established fine art photographers. She is very interested in the photograph as object. In portraiture, she finds the subject sometimes competes with the art of the photograph.She loves prints with depth and appreciates the process in the darkroom. Kathryn understands Mark’s complicated process in making platinum prints and admires his range. “Mark can go into a studio and have a huge crew — he is good at running the circus—and nail it, but if you really strip it down and it is just him and his subject, like the 20 minutes he had with Warren Beatty, he is also at his best. He came away with a fantastic portrait. And to do it at that level and consistency for 30 years is incredible.”
Mark Seliger’s love of photography began early with a camera given to him by his brother. But his main interest was not in taking the pictures — he was more excited in the process of making the prints. Here is a quote from an interview on NPR:
“I was really not drawn to photography to take pictures — I was actually really inspired through the darkroom. … I made a darkroom in my parents’ house when I was growing up. They would go out on a Saturday night and I would spend hours making prints. I just fell in love with the process. And as that love kind of grew, I had to have something to be able to print, so I thought: I better start taking pictures — and that’s how it all evolved. I never really thought that I’d end up here.”
This unexpected path led him to create award-winning photographs that have appeared in numerous magazines all over the world such as Vanity Fair, Elle, Italian Vogue, German Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, GQ and Rolling Stone, and to receive such accolades as the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, Lucie Award, Clio Grand Prix, Cannes Lions Grand Prix, and many ASME’s. In 2017, Seliger’s work became a part of the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
The platinum prints at KMR Arts are a striking collection of celebrity portraits, nudes, landscapes and personal work. This month Mark Seliger will have a satellite show at the Judy Black Park in the Depot which will have large 30×40 prints in color and b&w. He will give a talk about his process and his path.
Mark has published several books of his work. His new book Mark Seliger Photographs features images from the last 30 years and is available for $75 at KMR Arts.
Mark Seliger: Platinum Prints continues at KMR Arts through December 29, 2018.
2 Titus Road