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Norman Seeff

Self was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. After graduating with honors in science and art he qualified as a medical doctor and for three years worked in emergency medicine in Soweto, South Africa focusing on the management of traumatic shock. In 1969, desiring to explore his passion for creative expression in all its forms, he relocated to New York and switched careers from science to the arts.

Within a year and half Seeff established himself as a successful “rock” photographer and graphic designer of album art. In 1972, Seeff was offered a position as Creative Director of United Artists and relocated to Los Angeles. His innovative approach to collaborative art-direction, resulted in multiple Grammy Nominations for graphic design. Two years later Seeff went freelance and opened a studio on the Sunset Strip.

In his evolution as a photographer of public personalities, Seeff realized that in order to accomplish the vitality and authenticity he was looking for in his images required nothing short of a paradigm shift in his interaction with artists and innovators.

Creating the session as a both a nurturing and challenging environment for a co-creative, interactive relationship with artists, the session became a laboratory for the exploration of the fundamental dynamics of creativity from the ‘inside’ out. Responding to the emotional authenticity and depth of the creative communication between himself and artists, Seeff brought a film crew into a session for the first time in 1975, beginning with Ike and Tina Turner.

For Seeff the session became the art-form itself, transforming into a multi-disciplinary process of photography, filmmaking and creative communication with artists. Shifting focus from ends to means, creating authentic experience in the moment revealed that optimal experience flowed elegantly into optimal performance. For Seeff this was a personal paradigm shift in his understanding of the creative process. The true meaning and significance for his turning point decision in 1969, now revealed a life-path creative destination that has been the primary focus of his work over the last four decades.

Seeff ‘s creative interaction with renowned creators and innovators includes such luminaries as Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, Steve Jobs, Steve Martin, John Huston, Martin Scorsese, Billy Wilder, Bob Fosse,, Tina Turner, Alicia Keys, Sir Francis Crick,  Nobel winners and hundreds of others. He has worked in creative collaborations with institutions such as: The California Technology Institute, The Experience Museum, Rockitdyne, Jet Propulsion Lab, Glaxo Wellcome, Paramount TV, Motorola, General Motors, Apple, Mitsubishi, Toyota, TED, The Annenberg Foundation, Lexus, YPO, GM., Nissan, etc.

Seeff’s first photography book ‘Hot Shots’, won the New York Art Directors Club award for best photographic book of the year and his second book, ‘Sessions!’ Has now become a collector’s publication.

In the 90’s Seeff shifted creative disciplines to directing television commercials for major international brands, winning multiple awards, including a Belding for his first national campaign. In 2000 Seeff returned to focusing on long-form, multimedia projects exploring the dynamics of creativity. His feature documentary, ‘Triumph of the Dream’, exploring the creative process of the scientists and engineers of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory responsible for landing two rovers on Mars in 2004 will be released in tandem with a work-book based on the seven-stage dynamic of the collective creative process.

Seeff views himself as a conduit for the many voices of the hundreds of creative and innovative individuals, working at the higher reaches of human potential, that he has interacted with over many decades.


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