9.15.2010

Photographer Sylvia Plachy- Lecture

Written by Sharae Gibbs

Award-winning writer and photographer Sylvia Plachy visited SCAD for the Artist Lecture Series this evening. Some of her essays and portraits have appeared in New York Times Magazine, The Village Voice, The New Yorker, Granta, Artforum, Fortune, and other publications. Her book “Self Portrait with Cows Going Home” is a personal history of Central Europe with photographs. She is also the mother of Academy Award-winning actor Adrien Brody.


She began with photographs taken during the Hungarian Revolution. Her parents were too afraid for her to grow up during Stalin’s reign so she left Hungary at the age of thirteen. This photograph triggers a memory of her entire family lying flat on the ground in hiding to escape Hungary. Her photography reflects glimpses of her life that she captured. I recognized the portrait of her son in the movie, “The Pianist”, taken during their trip to the concentration camps. Many of her memories were tragic, a photograph from the corner where Emmett Till was killed, and in Kuwait during the first Iraqi War. I admire her ability to arrange her photographs to form a visual connection.

A professor in the audience noted that a lot of her work was shot in different formats. He posed the question “how do you chose which camera to use?” She responded to this question by stating “every camera has it’s own personality. “ As a young photographer she remembers walking around with six to eight types of cameras some in her waist or even back pocket. She uses panoramic, 33mm, and a Holga camera. She prefers square formats for portraits for solidity and beauty, and Nikons because they have “a warmth to it.”

The life of Sylvia Plachy amazes me because she was able to live fully engaged with her environment and fulfilled with the passion for her work .

“I’m happiest when I fall into something, when I am the one dancing with people.”
– Sylvia Plachy




2 comments:

  1. How can I get in contact with the photographer?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Who are you and what did you do. I just spoke with her yesterday she visited my school. A very nice woman might I add.

    ReplyDelete

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