b.1941 - d.2017
Bob Seidemann was an American graphic artist and photographer best known for the creation of iconic album covers for the likes of Janis Joplin, The Bangles, and the Grateful Dead, among countless others.
Born in 1941 and raised in New York City, he developed an early interest in aviation and went to the Manhattan High School of Aviation Trades. He learned about photography through working at a photo studio after high school and then moved to San Francisco in the 1960s where he befriended the poets, artists, writers and musicians of the North Beach and began taking their pictures.
Seidemann first gained notoriety in 1967 for a photographic interpretation of the Pieta. He reversed the traditional subjects, depicting a mourning male cradling the body of a nude female, with a graphic combination of sexuality and violence.
In 1969, Eric Clapton formed a new band and Seidemann was commissioned to create the cover for their album. Seidemann photographed a nude 11 year-old girl to create what would become his most famous and controversial work, entitled Blind Faith. Not only did it become the cover and title of the album, but the band as well.
Although unpublished until her death, Seidemann's 1967 portraits of a semi-nude Janis Joplin earned him wide acclaim. Another one of his photographs of Janis capturing her wearing nothing but a loose fitting beaded robe became a popular poster at the time. Rolling Stone Magazine photographer Baron Wolman took a popular photo of Joplin standing in front of a wall covered in these posters.
Seidemann also photographed The Grateful Dead a number of times during their peak, both for use as posters and album liners. He also designed the covers for Go to Heaven and Jerry Garcia's debut solo album, Garcia. Other works include the cover of Jackson Browne's Late for the Sky, Neil Young's On the Beach, and numerous concert posters for bands such as Traffic and Big Brother and the Holding Company.
In the 1980s he returned to his original love, aircraft, and began photographing the wreckage of airplanes left behind at Air Force bases around Southern California. This led to portraits of aircraft designers, engineers and pilots, including World War II General James H. Doolittle, the designer of the B-1B bomber Walter Spivak, and the first pilot to break sound barrier General Chuck Yeager, among others.
Bob Seidemann died in November, 2017 and left a small archive of beautiful signed silver gelatin prints. These exceptional and rare pieces, along with some estate editions, are available for collectors to purchase. Please contact us for details!