WAiF 02-595 Warszawa ul.Pulawska 61 Poland
Dear Mr. Fogler, the Hague, 13/08/00
I am working on a book about 'Trends in Photography & Graphic Design' and found Mr. Horowitz willing to participate. I have attached a small piece of text below about this project and you can find more information on my website. Of course, with the examples of his work there should be some text about him and his philosophy. We found the text as given below appropriate to go with his work and Mr. Horowitz asked me to contact you for permission to use it. If there is anything I can do to provide you with additional information, please let me know.
TRENDS IN PHOTOGRAPHY & GRAPHIC DESIGN
With this publication, I would like to explain relations between professional photography and graphic design. ZOO Design, (a small idealistic graphic design publisher) has taken the initiative to publish a series of books on various topics relating to graphic design. This is the fifth part of the series, other parts were about printers, pictograms (icons), design & smell and one about paper & design. Dutch graphic design has a long standing reputation, this however is the first bilingual part of the series, giving me the opportunity to show an international perspective with an enormous potential of interesting contributions. Being a professional photographer for many years now, allows me to give my side of the story. From the design side there are of course other experts as A.D.Coleman, Jan van Toorn and Daniel Pinchbeck.
In 1989 I founded CIRCLE 24, an world-wide foundation of professional photographers who keep each other informed about trends and developments. It is really a loosely organized bunch of friends with a lot of contacts in all different fields of a wonderful profession and this gives a tremendous advantage in compiling all the material.
With the Circle, I also organized a large number of photography exhibitions world-wide; many of these new trends stem from art-photography. So much has happened in an ever faster way, that I would like to restrict the time span of the articles roughly to the last ten years. First of all: what were significant trends in concepts and visualization and how different were they in various parts of the world? What I intend to show is photography as finished artwork. Secondly it is clear that, in this short time span, both professions have changed tremendously. You will be aware of the enormous possibilities brought by new computer programs, and of the tensions this has caused between designers, digital photographers and printers leaving clients often wondering who is doing what and who is right. For all these glitches are existing solutions, developed by experts in respective fields and this forms also a part of the trends and way of working. Lastly what will the near future bring and what more is there to desire?
With pleasure, I recommend you the opinions of all participants.
Robert Schilder wrote:
Dear Mr. Horowitz,
I had another look at your fantastic website and have taken the liberty to take parts of the text from there. Together with Robert Bowen's entry in 'Digital Image Creation' I have compiled the following text; a main text instead of the interview and Mr. Bowen's remarks next to the photograph.
-When I just mention the names of Robert A. Sobieszek and Robert Bowen under the text as shown below, would that be covering copyrights?
I don't see any problems as long as the text accompanies my work, but it would be preferable to write to my publisher in this matter. It is just a formality. You mention our correspondence, etc. Please contact: Janusz Fogler/publisher WAiF 02-595 Warszawa ul.Pulawska 61 Poland 48 22/845 53 01 office 48 22/845 55 84 fax If you are interested in the English version of my book, WAiF is the place to that may still have some copies still available.
-Is Robert Bowen still doing (all?) your computer work?
I stop working with Bob almost three years ago. He never did all my computer work, but worked with me on some major projects in the past. Now, time permitting I do all my digital imaging myself.
-Are you shooting digital now?
Every once a while I use digital capturing equipment. I am certain it is the way of the future, but we are still not there yet. Digital equipment offering high enough resolution is very expensive and frequently awkward in use. For now I prefer to shoot most of my images on film and have them digitized on drum scanners.
-May I use your 'birthegg' photograph with this text and could you send it
to me digitally? (max. size is 14cm. wide, 300dpi and high-quality jpg) This image is an example of my own digital work, including concept, photography and imaging. See attached jpg
There is room for one more photograph, for instance one which shows you at work. That could be color or b/w, as you wish, and could be even a little 'humorous'?
See attached jpg. It is a self portrait I created for a poster to promote my recent retrospective exhibition traveling now in Poland.
-It is my personal intention to send this book to the press worldwide, in fact that is all what I am getting out of this: a solid network. There will be two books printed: one in Dutch and one in English. Of course you will receive a final text-check before going to print an a copy when it is printed.
"Astonish me!" Alexey Brodovitch challenged his students. Actually, the former creative director of Harper's Bazaar was quoting the earlier "Étonnez-moi!" of the Russian ballet master Sergei Diaghilev, but with his
charge Brodovitch set the stage for more than half a century of modernist design in America. Design - whether it was illustrational, typographic, or photographic - was obliged to be provocative and new; otherwise it would disappear within the quotidian white-noise of that which assaults us visually. "I hate imitation and cliches," he said to a class in 1964; "I hope we can discover a new way of communication... You should provoke me and only then can I provoke you back. I believe in this backfire technique."
The model of contemporary design and photography Brodovitch promoted in his classes and promulgated in the pages of Harper's Bazaar between 1934 and 1958 was a fertile, energetic, and sophisticated laboratory - a sort of one-person Bauhaus - in which such notable photographers as Richard Avedon, Hiro, Art Kane, Arnold Newman, Irving Penn - and Ryszard Horowitz - refined their personal visions and styles.
Ultimately, it does not matter that many of Horowitz's photographs were created for advertising or editorial purposes. What matters is their completeness, their singularity, and their unparalleled innovation. Ryszard
Horowitz's photo-compositions are ultimately a set of early excursions into the imaginative as opposed to menu-driven options artists now have in fabricating the potential worlds that lay before us, worlds of con-sensual hallucinations and poetry and astonishment. As an artist of these new cyber spaces he shows us what inventions are possible, what complete visual freedoms are now available for fashioning images of considerable provocation, and what unparalleled scenic wonders are latent in the latest electronic and computer technologies at hand - and all this in the service of Brodovitch's mandate: "Astonish me!"
Robert A. Sobieszek
"The most important heritage I got from my country is an understanding of art, painting in particular.
A photographer ought to be able to use in his work the whole achievement of art history, and his work should be a sum of artistic experience from the past". And for the new technology and how he has harnessed it, Horowitz says: "I exchanged the darkroom for the computer. I don't intend spending the rest of my life trapped in electronics. It is a certain stage for me, one of the techniques which I am applying at the moment, because it suit my present creative purposes best."
And the future? "Where I am now is closest to where I began as a painter," Ryszard says, "where I have a blank canvas and I can do anything. I never had either the technique or the patience as a naturalistic painter to achieve what I can now achieve by combining photography with digital techniques. The complexity gives me the means to achieve my ideas, so I am finally able to use the medium to project my inner dreams and fantasies, all using the most communicative medium that there is. The paradox is that I am drawn increasingly back to simple imagery again. When Jo Peter Witkin gave me his print I felt a jealousy. This was something he had photographed and produced in his own darkroom. I miss the control that comes from that solitary creative process."
Next to the photograph:
The aesthetic genius of Ryszard Horowitz's photography is squarely rooted in a strategy of unqualified provocation. Regardless of its intent, whether the work was done for advertising, editorial, experimental, or strictly personal reasons, his motivation for the past two decades has been dominated not only by a need to make images that are compellingly and startlingly original, but also to defy the very logic by which photographic narratives are read and iconic emblems comprehended. His visual fantasies are not taken from a crude realist world; they are formed purely by an overactive and joyful imagination that plays with equal amounts of the unexpected, the uncanny, and the oneiric. His means range from the hard physics of conventional camera optics to the sophisticated morphings of the latest electronic software. Part magician and wry humorist, part consummate craftsperson of cut-and-paste montages, part techno-jock and hacker of virtual irrealities,
"This type of computer imaging has much in common not only with set design, but also with special-effects films. The goal of special effects is the mastery of nature through tricking the eye. In order to aid in the suspension of disbelief, the viewer is in collusion with the effects artist in the sense that both parties really want the illusion to work.The principal requirement needed to allow this process to succeed is photo realism. Trompe l'oeil pictures work because of the intellectual co-perception of two divergent forms of surface information: illusory space and the medium's own actual two-dimensionality (the pixels, monitor, paint, canvas, grain or noise)".
Robert Bowen in 'Digital Image Creation'
Thanks for your interest. Sincerely, Ryszard
Please visit my web site at: http://www.ryszard-horowitz.com