Today, Christie’s auction house launched a joint fundraising campaign dedicated to benefitting various COVID-19 relief organizations that’s centered around the sale of photographs of Mark Seliger. Seliger is a celebrity photographer who has built an acclaimed career capturing actors, musicians and everyone in between in either natural or unnatural habitats. In collaboration with RAD (Red Carpet Advocacy) and the Mark Seliger Studio, Christie’s will donate 100 percent of the proceeds of the sale of each celebrity portrait to the a charity chosen by the subject of the photo. Given that Seliger specializes in finding new ways of perceiving illustrious figures like Barack Obama, Kurt Cobain, Jennifer Lopez and Oprah Winfrey, his portraits are almost guaranteed to fetch big numbers.
“It has been a wonderful experience working alongside Mark Seliger on assembling this group of extraordinary portraits, all of which have their own unique backstory,” Paola Saracino Fendi, Specialist and Head of Sale, Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s, told Observer. “Philanthropic sales are a core strength for Christies and throughout this period, we have been honored to work with some remarkable individuals and organizations like RAD and Mark Seliger, to use our digital platform to raise vital funds for a range of philanthropic pursuits. With our online-only sale platform, we are able to be extremely nimble in bringing these kinds of sales to the marketplace.” The RADArt4Aid auction will be active from May 28 to June 12.
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Whereas some celebrity photographers prefer to keep their subjects reactive and on their toes, Seliger’s style appears to be much more fluid; sometimes his images feel perfectly in tune with the energy of the celebrity he’s capturing (like the Brad Pitt motorcycle photo), and sometimes the photographer uses costume and heightened staging to everyone’s advantage. In particular, his image of Kurt Cobain’s unforgettable face nestled amongst a lineup of creepy baby doll heads and wilting roses is one for the ages.