Last week saw the passing of photographer Bob Seidemann. Perhaps best known for his controversial photograph for the 1969 album “Blind Faith,” he photographed the rock stars of both the San Francisco and London scenes in the late ’60s.
Born in New York City and raised in Queens, near LaGuardia Airport, he developed an early fascination with aircraft. He attended the High School of Aviation Trades and learned photography by working in a photography studio upon graduation.
Seidemann relocated to San Francisco, where he photographed members of the psychedelic rock bands, including Big Brother and the Holding Company and the Grateful Dead. He took the now famous portrait of a semi-nude Janis Joplin in 1967, which appeared in Rolling Stone following her death in 1970.
Seidemann was also associated with the psychedelic poster artists of the day, Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse and Wes Wilson, providing photographs used for rock concert posters. In a addition, he photographed and designed album covers for the Dead, Jerry Garcia’s first solo album, Jackson Browne and Neil Young. In all—he created over 60 albums covers over his career.
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. His career spanned 50 years. His work is in the permanent collection of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
Thank you and condolences to Belinda Seidemann.
Meet more of PRINT’s New Visual Artists in the Fall 2017 issue of PRINT.
Get the latest issue of PRINT to discover our annual list of 15 of the best creatives today under 30. Plus …
- A look at the rebranding of an old industry made anew: marijuana
- A Manifesto from Scott Boylston on the dire need for sustainability in design
- Paul Sahre’s memoir/monograph Two-Dimensional Man
- Debbie Millman’s Design Matters: In PRINT, featuring Jonathan Selikoff
- And much more!