I had the pleasure of interviewing Don
Seidman; although I had written a draft prior to the interview, I really have
to re-think this whole article. I need to do all my readers proud.
I was amazed by this Man's life. I
knew of some of his accomplishments, mostly his pageant work and the stuff we
have done together and, but it was a true joy to learn more about Don and his
body of work.
I will start by saying Don Seidman
is an American photojournalist primarily working for himself with an extensive
resume expanding over 50 years of work and collaboration.
Don being a professional and a
perfectionist brought over 5 photo albums and his IPAD for me to look over, we
looked at the books one by one and each picture had a story.
At 19, Don served on the USS
Saratoga carrier while in the US Navy; while there he received training as a
photographer and photographed all the events for 2 years. As part of his
duties, in June of 1956 President Dwight (Ike) Eisenhower came on aboard to
watch air maneuvers. Don was assigned and had the opportunity to take candid
photos of the Eisenhower, the president staff and the fleet.
In August 1957 after being
discharged, Don always wanted to play baseball and tried out for the Jacksonville
braves, an affiliate of the Milwaukee Braves. Don had the desire but realized
he was not going to be a major league player so he went back to first love,
After the season was over he went
back to Chicago and landed a job at the Harold Gutsman studios, where he
photographed debutants and society wedding. Don also became an agent for New York
Life insurance, where he sold life insurance for 12 years.
I was amazed by the stories and the historical events
he had pictures of. Don toured Alcatraz after they shout it down, somewhat of
the last supper; had pictures of President Dwight Eisenhower and number of
celebrities, which he had permission to shoot from their managers and
Let me tease you all with a few of the BIG names:
Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Gloria Estefan, Bob Barker, Norm
Crosby, Florence Henderson, Anna Nicole Smith, Howie Mandel, Dick Clark, John
Belushi, Don Rickles, Liberace, Harry Chaplin, John Davidson, Joan Rivers,
Brook Shields, Paul Newman, Sha Na Na, NSync, just to mention a few.
Don worked and photographed the Chicago Cubs, Barbizon
Models for 30 years, Venus Swimwear for 10 years, and the Rock Group Creed for
2 years. In addition, what blew me away was he worked with the greats from
modeling agencies like Eileen Ford from FORD models, Wilhelmina from Wilhelmina
Models and John Casablanca from John Casablanca schools and modeling. He's the
Don also worked with Evil Knievel for 3 years from 1973
to 1976, and yes, he covered the horrific 10 car/3 truck jump where Evil fractured
his hand, bruised his back and kidneys. Also covered the 1975 13 single Decker bus
jump, where he landed on the last bus, fell and fractured his pelvis, broke his
hand and suffered a concussion.
Don has contributed his work in a magazine called
Pageants, a book dedicated to all types of pageants; I looked through it and
was quite taken, even had a good laugh with some of the pictures.
His combined areas of expertise include pageants
(Miss Universe Organization (US states and International), Mrs. World and Mrs.
America, sports venues including the 1995 Super Bowl and all its parties, the World
Series in 1997, society weddings, fashion shows & shoots, concerts and the
Winterfest Boat Parade.
In 1983, Paul Newman was in Fort Lauderdale filming
Harry & Son. Don's studio lot was behind the set where they were filming.
Don walked out and asked Mr. Newman if he
could take his picture of him and Mr. Newman graciously agreed. What a Guy!!!
In 1990, Don was signed as official souvenir
photographer for the Miss Universe Organization. There the concepts of pageant
posters, and memorabilia became the normal for the pageant system and was
adopted by other pageant systems. That relationship lasted for 22 years, where
Don photographed the most beautiful women of the world. (Not a bad job for
doing something you love and getting paid for it!)
photographs delegates for the Mrs. America and Mrs. World Pageant for the past
12 years. Don has driven
over one million miles throughout North America and one and a half million air
miles worldwide on paid jobs.
Among the countries he has visited, Russia, India, Turkey,
Hawaii, all the countries in the Caribbean, all the countries in South America
and Central America, and still travelling. In September of this year, Don will
be flying to China to photograph the Mrs. World pageant.
Don never took it easy, he worked and worked, had no
down time for himself but that's what kept him young. A married man, beautiful
wife and raised to beautiful daughters, one a Physician Assistant and the other
in Marketing Executive.
Fast forward to 2008, the moment Don and I met it was
an immediate click for me. I understood and acknowledged this professionals
work. I knew in my heart this man was going to be good for me and Franovik's
I have had the pleasure of working with Don and he
has given me much joy and amazing pictures. Some even becoming ICONIC images in
the fashion industry like our yellow dress. Speaking about our yellow dress,
this infamous yellow dress has graced the bodies of Beautiful models; obviously
no model has been able to create the flower effect that Morgan Quinn has, and
NO photographer has been able to capture or re-create the flower effect like
Don has. Actually, one of our garments, shot by Don, graced the cover of
Elegant Dreams in May 2013.
Don has done dozens of events and photo shoots for
us, including the very first fashion show for Miss Earth United States and Miss
Teen Earth, Franovik put on in Las Vegas. I am at ease when I know that he is
there and I know that I will get amazing pictures.
The comments I get from all my models, my hair and
make-up artists, is always the same; they love working with him, no attitudes
and an ease to work with. He directs the models and we work together with no
issues, you must realize, we are both artists in our own right but to work
together, putting egos aside to create the perfect work environment is a task
in its own but Don makes it seamless.
Don is always on time, always very helpful and always
a gentlemen. I have worked with many photographers; but none like Don.
This man is in another
league, A League of Extraordinary
As a token of my appreciation to Don, I wanted to
write and showcase this man's work. It's a shame that other people and
organizations have not given this man his props. It's been a true honor working
with Don and I hope to continue to work with him for many more years.