In a career spanning over 30 years, photographer, director, and producer Stephane Sednaoui created some of the most iconic music videos of all time. Think Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis painted head to toe in silver in “Give It Away,” Björk making disembodied movements on the back of a moving truck in “Big Time Sensuality,” or the four Alanis Morissettes in one car for “Ironic.” Throughout all of these, and his work with other legendary artists including Madonna, U2, Tina Turner, and the Smashing Pumpkins, Sednaoui applied his gritty, unpolished, and real lens onto the songs that shaped music.
The key to creating such timeless works of art? Sednaoui wouldn’t touch a project if he didn’t think the musician was authentic. “For me, it’s all about finding an artist who is real and to do something that goes beyond just doing a music video,” he says. “Later on, I worked with more commercial artists but it was never a creative success. The more commercial they are the worse I get.” So who was most real? Björk, Tricky, Michael Stipe (from R.E.M.), and Red Hot Chili Peppers. “They are who they are, pure artists. Faking an icon is a job, and the result is a lie. After a while, I got bored with that aspect and I questioned myself on how to remain honest at all times.”
Because of this, Sednaoui has stopped commercial and editorial work to focus on personal art and film projects. “I needed to extract myself from where I was, pause and land in another dimension to do new things.”