The Eye of the Beholder
By John Adams
Within his new book, photographer Barry Seidman transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Eight years ago, New York advertising photographer Barry Seidman pointed his car south and headed to a new chapter of his life in South Florida. Unfettered by the demands of clients, Seidman set out to rediscover his photographic talents by developing projects over which he alone would have control. Now releasing his third volume of photos titled “New Eyes,” Seidman has melded his expertise photographing still lifes with his unique artistic bent. The results are stunning.
A wink and a kiss
“New Eyes” delivers an opening punch, thanks to an 11” x 16” spread of fuchsia tulips across a black velvet backdrop. What makes Seidman’s pictures unique is his ability to transform everyday objects into sexy and unique vignettes. And with chapter titles like “Wet,” “Hung,” and “Bloomers,” Seidman’s advertising acumen lures the viewer in with a mirthful wink. “I knew they would be nothing like what people had seen before. If you look at anything from my peppers to my handscapes, you’ll find a lot of eroticism,” he says. Seidman captures peppers nuzzling each another; flowers delicately bending in for a kiss; cocktails and bottles gleaming with dewdrops of sweat; and human hands enveloping, lying prone atop each other.
Voyage of discovery
The book’s title “New Eyes” comes from Seidman’s adopted philosophy of a Marcel Proust quote. Proust wrote: “The real voyage of discovery consists of not seeking new landscapes but having new eyes.” Seidman elaborates: “I sit here in my darkened studio and work out an idea for a new image. I don’t go out into the world and bring things back. I don’t take pictures. I make them. Do I need to create another photograph of a flower or a vegetable? Yes. Because I have my own eyes; I can see them in a different way. And I hope that observers also see these objects in a different way.”
How does an advertising photographer become a fine artist? Seidman, with his characteristic dry humor, responds: “I don’t know how fine it is, but that’s what they call me. I guess the difference is that fine artists are done when they say so, commercial art is done when whoever is paying you says you are done.” Whatever the label, Seidman is sure of one thing – his personal connections to his work have never been stronger. “My book is an entity. It breathes, it has a pulse. I named the book, I designed it, I picked the typeface, I laid it out, and I narrated it. It’s not simply a catalog of work but a volume of who I am – it’s my photobiography. I guess the best way to describe it is that it’s my reason for living. It’s a file folder with my life between the covers.”
For more information about Barry Seidman’s work, visit his website at: www.barryseidman.com or call 561-630-5745.