ALFRED SEILAND: Photographs 1979 – 2000

Much of the work on view in Alfred Seiland’s current solo exhibition, Photographs 1979 – 2000 on view at Galerie Johannes Faber, has origins in the Austrian-born photographer’s repeated east coast/west coast tours of the American landscape. Often interrogating the particularities of a site multiple times in the course of journey, Seiland’s photographs extract the essential details of color, light, and shadow, of line and surface lying beneath the thematic dryness of his domestic landscapes.

The photographer’s brief foray into the—some would suggest, antithetical—realm of fashion photography with New York Times Magazine‘s 2004 photo series, “Hanging Gardens: When the Bloom Is on the Line,” is not a complete departure.

With Dress by Nicholas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga, Seiland “plays with the façade of [a] colorful dress against an equally bright and textured background of orange and red flowers.” The flattening of surface, the rendering of foreground and background elements along a shared visual plane, all executed through the manipulation of color and contrasting elements is consistent with Seiland’s broader photographic language. The image suggests a pictorial narrative of its own, surrendering its subjectivity in favor of “a mood and space that seems to exist only in and for that picture.”

Kathy Ryan, long-time Director of Photography for the New York Times Magazine, targeted Seiland specifically for the 2004 Style shoot:

My first instinct often is to bring in photographers who might not normally be shooting a particular kind of work. There were a lot of beautiful flowered prints that season, which led me to think of Alfred Seiland… I remembered seeing a picture by him of sheets hanging on a clothesline, years before, and that was a direct inspiration. I love the pattern on pattern here, and the fact that, even though there’s nobody there, the dresses themselves clearly have personality.


Alfred Seiland’s Dress by Nicholas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga, from “Hanging Gardens: When the Bloom is on the Line” is available from Aperture in a limited-edition of 25 ($650, available here).

Alfred Seiland is also featured in The New York Times Magazine Photographs (Aperture, 2011), edited by Kathy Ryan ($52.50, available here).


His current exhibition, Alfred Seiland: Photographs 1979 – 2000, is now on view at Galerie Johannes Faber, Vienna, through June 2nd.

Galerie Johannes Faber
Dorotheergasse 12
Vienna, Austria
+43 1 512 84 32