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“I am totally superficial, I know. But I believe superficiality can be very serious, a defense against the gravity of things, a manner of discretion.” Jeanloup Sieff
The work of photographer Jeanloup Sieff, who has died aged 66, connected him constantly to youth and beauty. His interests were nudes, the erotic, and an extended study of the body in dance. He was best-known for his fashion magazine photography, but he also enjoyed experimenting, technically and thematically, especially in the 1960s, when he lived in the US and went on the road, documenting southern landscapes.
Born in Paris, the son of a Polish engineer, Sieff was given a camera for his 14th birthday. He took photographs from then on, sleeping with his precious camera by his pillow. He dropped out of courses in literature, in journalism, and at photography school in Paris, before completing seven months at the Vevey photography school in Switzerland.
Returning home in 1954, he attempted to get work in the cinema industry. He ditched the attempt, but remained fascinated with stars and directors; 20 years later, his portraits of Hitchcock, Catherine Deneuve and other movie people were, and have remained, famous.
Sieff began his career proper at French Elle magazine in 1956, where he began to introduce an element of the erotic into what had been before a mostly highly respectable art. Naughtiness replaced haughtiness in his shots, with partly-dressed models seductively extending a bare arm and shoulder, or bending a naked back to the camera.
...His work is owned by major museums... and in Tokyo (where the erotic aspect of his work was well regarded). Other books, which eschewed silly titles, were called The Ballet (1962) or Best Nudes (1980) - although he couldn't resist calling one volume Bottoms (1994).
He was married to Barbara Williams, and had two children Sonia and Sasha.
...born November 30 1933; died September 20 2000