In the moment with Norman Seeff
Imagine sitting in a bar surrounded by Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Ray Charles, John Belushi, Cher, and an up-and-coming Steve Jobs. Well, thanks to film and photography legend Norman Seeff, at The Bar and Lounge at Hotel Bel-Air that’s exactly the experience you get.
The larger-than-life installation of oversized photos lining the walls of The Bar and Lounge at Hotel Bel-Air, were captured in the 1980s during several exclusive photo sessions, with some of the world’s most creative entertainers and innovators. Photographer Norman Seeff tells us about this cherished collection of ‘in the moment’ images.
How did you capture such authentic moments?
The real challenge is to create a relationship that’s truly authentic. You need to focus on the emotional experience of the moment, rather than aiming at a specific goal. It’s as simple as that. But of course, it’s actually not that simple! Being authentically spontaneous requires an emotional honesty and vulnerability, which scary for most people.
How has your approach evolved?
To be emotionally vulnerable requires a lot of courage. It’s not easy. Learning how to be vulnerable is a kind of oxymoron, as being vulnerable, or not, is a choice. It took me a number of years to go through my own resistances to being emotionally present. I learnt that if I worked in a truthful way, if helped create the authenticity I was looking for.
Do you like how the photos work in the space?
I like that the bar has such an intimate feel, it sits well with the emotional authenticity I captured in the photographs. I think they creates a real resonance with people when they’re in the space. They sense the realness and, of course, the fun.
Do you have a favorite image?
Well, this is like asking a mother to choose between their children. Each of them is unique and any experience where you are touched by another person’s realness, and you have a sense of their soul, becomes memorable. I would say that all of these sessions were profound moments of connecting with other people.
Who would you most like to photograph?
I’ve been fortunate to have photographed many people I admire but someone I would love to have the opportunity to photograph is Sade. I love her and think she’s a unique artist with no peer in her particular style, a style that’s so unique it’s difficult to describe.
Join us for drinks, live music and perhaps a bite to eat at The Bar & Lounge at Hotel Bel-Air to see Norman Seeff’s collection of images. It’s a wonderful way to surround yourself with Hollywood glamour.