Near the Stairways

When celebrity photographer Mark Seliger acquired the old brick building at the corner of Charles Street and the West Side Highway (New York City) in 1997, his friends couldn’t understand why he wanted a place in such an unfashionable area, across the street from rotting piers on the Hudson River and not far from the infamous meat-packing district. The building had been built as a factory in 1852, and Seliger had it gutted and rebuilt (an immensely expensive job) but a little over a year after buying it he had it operating as a state-of-the-art studio. Today the meat-packing district is filled with fashion boutiques, chic restaurants, and upscale hotels. Across the street from the studio, a luxury apartment development designed by Richard Meier is going up. “I went from being the stupidest person on earth to being the smartest,” shrugs Seliger.

During the remodeling, an old elevator was disassembled and taken out, leaving an empty shaft that, to the photographer’s delight, was topped with a 20×30-foot skylight. Seliger had a wooden platform built into the shaft, creating a private space upstairs from the main studio — a small, quiet place defined by the texture of its brick walls and flooded with creamy light. Inevitably, he began taking his celebrity subjects into the rebuilt space, now part of a stairwell, to photograph them.

“Every time I had a session where there was time to shoot someone in there, I’d do it,” says Seliger. “It became another option — when I would run out of ideas for what I was going to do with someone in the studio, I would take them upstairs.”

 

Manon

 

Julia Roberts

 

Heidi Klum

 

Iman

 

David Bowie

 

Mick Jagger

 

Lou Reed

 

Chris Martin

 

Paul McCartney

 

Luciano Pavarotti

 

Mihail Baryshnikov

 

Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox

 

Mel Brooks using a comb to make a Hitler moustache

 

Adrien Brody

 

Liam Neeson

 

Lenny Kravitz

 

To watch more pictures taken by Mark Seliger (and Lenny Kravitz’s I Belong to You music video, also directed by Seliger), please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

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Music, Stars and Stripes

The Beatles

 
 

Mick Jagger

 
 

Bruce Springsteen. Born in the U.S.A. promo picture by Annie Leibovitz

 
 

Axl Rose

 
 

Bon Jovi

 
 

Bono

 
 

Britney Spears

 
 

Christina Aguilera. Photo: Michael Caulfield

 
 

Beck

 
 

Katy Perry

 
 

Lenny Kravitz. American Woman music video (Paul Hunter, 1999)

 
 

Madonna. American Pie music video ( Philipp Stölzl, 2000)

 
 

Shery Crow. Live At Budokan (2002) album art cover

 
 

Lana Del Rey. Born to Die music video (Yoann Lemoine, 2011)

 
 

Azealia Banks. Liquorice music video (Rankin, 2012)

Get a Grip and Draw the Line on a Milk Cow

Get a Grip (1993). Art direction: Michael Golob. Cover design: Hugh Syme. Photography: Edward Colver, William Hames. An animal rights group objected to the cover of a cow’s pierced udder, but it was confirmed by Aerosmith to have been computer-generated.

 
 

Alternative design cover

 
 

Get a Grip is the 11th studio album by American rock band Aerosmith. It was the band’s last studio album to be released by Geffen before they returned to Columbia Records. Get a Grip became Aerosmith’s best-selling studio album worldwide, achieving sales of over 20 million copies, and is tied with Pump for their second best-selling album in the United States, selling over 7 million copies as of 1995. This also made it their third consecutive album with US sales of at least five million. Two songs from the album won Grammy Awards for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, in 1993 and 1994. The album was voted Album of the Year by Metal Edge readers in the magazine’s 1993 Readers’ Choice Awards, while Livin’ on the Edge was voted Best Video.

Get a Grip featured guests including Don Henley (a founding member of The Eagles), who sang backup on Amazing, and Lenny Kravitz, who offered backup vocals and collaboration to Line Up.

Mark Coleman, for his Rolling Stone magazine review of Get a Grip, said he liked the title track and he compared the album’s introduction, titled Intro, to Steven Tyler and Joe Perry‘s collaboration with Run–D.M.C. on Walk This Way, but feels that most of the album lacks “adventure” and is too “somber”. In his interview he compared Livin’ on the Edge to a Bon Jovi song and feels that a problem with the album comes from the outside songwriters/collaborators.

Regarding songs that reflect on the band’s history with drug abuse such as Get a Grip and Amazing, Steven Tyler declared: “We were saying you can point it back to some of those old beliefs about the crossroads and signing up with the devil, that you can look at the drugs as that: It can be fun in the beginning but then it comes time to pay your debt, and if you’re not sharp enough to see that it’s taking you down, then it really will get you.”

 
 

Image from Rush’s Counterparts (1993) album design, also by Hugh Syme

 
 

Seeing is believe. Another computer-generated ilustration by Hugh Syme for an ad campaign, made almost fifteen years after Get a Grip was released.  

 
 

 
 

Milk Cow Blues is a blues song written and originally recorded by Kokomo Arnold. Elvis Presley, accompanied by Scotty Moore on guitar and Bill Black on bass, recorded a rockabilly version retitled Milk Cow Blues Boogie at Sun Records in November or December 1954.