The Image Maker

Jeanloup Sieff: "Les indiscrètes"

“There are no reasons for my photographs, nor any rules…” Such statements were typical of photographer Jeanloup Sieff, a regular contributor to Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in the ’70s. Renowned for his personal charm and great humility—he never deigned to discuss the artistic merits of his work—Sieff’s powerful black-and-white images fall aesthetically somewhere between Irving Penn’s classic glamour pics and the ironic street shots of William Klein. Many of his works for both editorial and advertising campaigns have become classics of the 20th century, perhaps the best example being the series he shot in 1972 of a stick-thin Yves Saint Laurent to promote the designer’s new men’s fragrance. But Sieff worked at such an astonishing rate that an equally large number of photographs have been quickly passed over, remaining unpublished even after his death in 2000. New from Steidl, Les indiscrètes collects previously unavailable images from the photographer’s back catalogue, including his early reportage for ELLE, work with Magnum Photos, and fashion spreads for Look, Glamour, Esquire and Nova. The images have been carefully selected by a team of editors, including the photographer’s wife, Barbara Rix-Sieff. “Once I’d chosen, I thought, That’s it,” she says. “But then I found so many nice prints, we had to start over again.”
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