Mark Seliger was born in Amarillo, Texas in 1959, where he lived with his parents, Maurice and Carol Lee, and his two older brothers and younger sister, until 1964, when they moved to Houston.
Seliger’s early interest in photography began when his brother Frank promised to give him his Diana camera if he got a base hit in Little League. He didn’t get the hit, but he got on base (by getting a walk for getting hit in the shoulder with the ball), and the camera was his. His first love quickly became the darkroom where he began experimenting with printing and developing in the family’s bathroom.
He attended Houston’s High School for Performing & Visual Arts and, from there, went on to attend East Texas State University, where his education began in earnest, as he studied the history of documentary photography.
He moved to New York City in 1984.
In 1987, he began shooting small assignments for Rolling Stone. He was signed as their Chief Photographer in 1992. During his time at Rolling Stone, Seliger shot over 125 covers and began a long term collaborative relationship with Design Director, Fred Woodward, which continued into their work with GQ. They have co-directed numerous music videos for artists such as Willie Nelson, Lenny Kravitz and Elvis Costello.
In 2001, Seliger moved from Rolling Stone to Condé Nast. He shoots frequently for Vanity Fair, Elle, Italian Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue and German Vogue.
In 2011, he co-founded a non-profit exhibition space for photography with Brent Langton called 401 Projects, which has featured shows for James Nachtwey, Eugene Richards, Albert Watson, Platon, among others.
Seliger continues his love of the darkroom by using the platinum palladium process to create large-scale, 30”x40” prints, and his photographs have been exhibited in museums and galleries.
He has published numerous books, including: On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories (Rizzoli, 2016), Listen (Rizzoli, 2010), Mark Seliger: The Music Book (teNeues, 2008), In My Stairwell (Rizzoli, 2005), Lenny Kravitz/Mark Seliger (Arena, 2001), Physiognomy (Bullfinch, 1999) and When They Came to Take My Father – Voices from the Holocaust (Arcade, 1996).
Seliger is the recipient of such esteemed awards as: Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, Lucie Award, Clio Grand Prix, Cannes Lions Grand Prix, and ASME’s.
In 2017, Seliger’s work became a part of the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.