French photographer Jeanloup Sieff (1933– 2000) was mainly known for his fashion photography, although his prolific body of work ranges from fashion, nudes, landscape, reportage and portraiture. Sieff is heralded as one of the great international photographic talents of the last half-century and has left an undeniable imprint on his generation.
Sieff was born in Paris to parents of Polish origin. His interest in photography was first piqued when he received a Photax plastic camera as a birthday gift for his fourteenth birthday. In 1953 he attended the Vaugirard School of Photography in Paris, later on moved to the Vevey School in Switzerland, and in 1954 he was already working as a freelance reporter, leaving aside his brief interest in cinema. In 1956 he began shooting fashion photography, and in 1958 he joined the Magnum Agency. His work for them made him travel to Italy, Greece, Poland and Turkey. He settled in New York for a number of years in the 1960s, where he worked for Esquire, Glamour, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, becoming extremely popular in America. He photographed many celebrities, among them Jane Birkin, Yves Montand, Alfred Hitchcock, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Yves Saint-Laurent, and Rudolf Nureyev.
He was the guest of honour for Rencontres d'Arles festival (France) in 1972. He won a number of prizes, including the Prix Niepce, the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in Paris in 1981 and the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1992. His work is owned by major museums in France, Germany, Switzerland and the US, and he exhibited in all those places as well as in London (where he held his first show in 1967) and Tokyo (where the erotic aspect of his work was well regarded).