Award-winning photographer Mark Seliger shares stories behind the iconic photos up for auction via RADArt4Aid, an online-only auction to benefit COVID-19 relief organizations

By Kara Warner
June 06, 2020 10:00 AM
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Mark Seliger

Mark Seliger has photographed many of the most famous people in the world and now, via his partnership with RAD (Red Carpet Advocacy) and Christie's for the charity auction RADArt4Aid, the celebrated photographer has donated 25 of his most memorable portraits to the cause and is sharing a few secrets behind them.

Take the 2014 photo of Brad Pitt driving his motorcycle, for example. Seliger says that for this shoot, featured in Details magazine, the Oscar winner had only one request: that it happen in nature somewhere.

"Brad and I have worked together a lot over the years," Seliger tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "He never just gives you a photo shoot—he’s collaborative and likes to be going somewhere. For this shoot he wanted to go where there would be very tall trees. This is Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Northern California. That’s his motor- cycle. I was lying on top of a car driving next to him."

Mark Seliger

Seliger's 2000 photo of Jennifer Lopez was inspired by a favorite illustrator of the photographer's, Frank Frazetta.

"I loved the übervixen/power woman that he would draw," Seliger says. "They were always wrestling with a cobra, or fighting off a minotaur or a centaur, or were befriended by a family of lions or something. And I think of [Lopez] like that. She's superhuman in everything she does."

Seliger says that Lopez "loved the concept" but chooses to remain mum on whether she and the real live leopards posed together.

"Yes, the leopards were on-set, but I can’t tell you whether she was there at the same time," he says.

Mark Seliger

For more on Mark Seliger's iconic photos and the stories behind them, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday

Seliger shares that the 1999 snap of Leonardo DiCaprio was not at all staged to look run-down or not quite clean — that was all real.

"That’s still the young, mischievous Leo. I really enjoyed this session," recalls Seliger. "We were downtown shooting at a really marginal hotel. We found a fire escape that he was hanging off of. Working with Leo is always great."

In addition to portraits of Pitt, Lopez and DiCaprio, the online-only auction features photos of Billie Eilish, Jennifer Aniston, Laura Dern, Tom Hanks, Lenny Kravitz, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and many more.

100% of the proceeds from the auction of each portrait will be donated to the celebrity subject’s charity of choice and where possible, the portraits will include a signed note from the sitter as a personal thank you to the winning bidder.

The RADArt4Aid auction runs through June 12.