Park City photographer lands work in 95th Springville Salon exhibit
Photographer Mark Maziarz says his abstract work, “Infinity C,” is often mistaken for a painting.
The digital photo, which is being exhibited through July 6 at the Springville Museum of Art’s 95th annual Spring Salon show, is mounted to a board, encased in resin; and doesn’t look like a photograph because of its low resolution, according to Maziarz, owner of Mark Maziarz Photography.
The piece is part of Maziarz’s 15-work “Geolines” series, which he created by cropping and stretching thin vertical sections of existing landscape photos to create an abstract, linear aesthetic.
“If you look at these pieces from a photographic point of view, they are only made up of 1/100 of a megapixel,” Maziarz explained. “There is very little digital information in the photos, but I still feel they are very emotional.”
The concept for the “Geolines” came from Maziarz’s rebellious streak and as a rebuttal to debates over photography gear within that community.
“Six or seven years ago, everyone was concerned about how many megapixels their photos were, and I kind of felt people were too concerned about the technical aspect without worrying about the creative aspect,” he said. “So I looked for ways to go against that. I thought about how I could represent an emotion and feeling in a photograph with as few megapixels as possible.”
This year marks Maziarz’s fourth Spring Salon. The photographer has also been part of exhibits that have opened closer to home, including two at the Kimball Art Center.
In addition, he is known for his portrait work for the Sundance Film Festival, Park City Municipal, several calendars and his coffee-table book — “Park City: A Portrait,” which he published in 2015 with fellow photographer Rick Pieros.
He has shot photos for various magazines including Sunset, Forbes and Powder, to name a few.
Maziarz said he likes to anticipate his photographs, regardless if he’s taking portraits, action shots or scenes, which area all disparate parts of his business.
“With the portraits, I have to get to know who I’m going to take a portrait of,” he said. “I have to get into a quiet space to do it, because I want those photos to offer some sort of insight about the subject.”
The action shots require Maziarz to be more observant.
“I love walking around Old Town to see what unfolds,” he said. “That’s very therapeutic for me.”
The scenic photos, which are Maziarz’s fine art works, take a different creative process.
“I actually spend more time thinking about what I’m going to shoot than I do shooting,” he said. “I think mainly about concepts, like what I did with the ‘Geolines.’”
Although Maziarz approaches photography genres differently, his goal for any photo is to elicit some sort of emotion when people see it, he said.
To do that, the photographer adheres to a concept called the “decisive moment,” which was conceived by Henri Cartier-Bresson, a pioneer of candid photography.
“The ‘decisive moment’ basically says any image you come across, or any composition you make, has one, precise, split-second moment when you should take the photo,” Maziarz said.
To do this, a photographer has to anticipate what is happening, he said.
“That’s why I think the role of a photographer is an observer where you sit back and watch things unfold around you,” he said. “Even when I don’t have a camera, I love watching people interact. I love watching people work.”
Maziarz was 11 when got his first film camera, a Yashica Electric 35, from his uncle.
“He was Vietnam War vet and he had purchased it when he was in Vietnam,” Maziarz said. “He liked to hit the slot machines, and one day he got lucky and bought himself a new camera and gave me the Yashica.”
Shortly thereafter, Maziarz began processing and developing his own photographs.
“I have always been more of a ‘left-side-of-the-brain’ type of person, and the fact that photography is so ‘left-brain’ and ‘right-brain,’ is what attracted me the most,” he said. “It’s a very technical hobby if you want to do it right, but you still have to be able to creatively compose the ideas you want to shoot.”
Maziarz took a photography class in high school and one in college, but it wasn’t until he moved to Park City in 1989 when he realized he could make a career out of taking pictures, he said.
“I had graduated with a degree in economics from Northwestern University, and initially came to here to ski and clear my mind,” he said. “I was applying for a bunch of different jobs and didn’t want to do any of them.”
While in Park City, Maziarz met a group of local, professional photographers including Lori Peek and Neil Rossmiller.
“I started working for Neil on a commission-based job, and I realized the harder you work, the more you get paid,” Maziarz said. “It was then I realized I could turn my hobby into a career. I got my business license a few months later, and here I am.”
For information about Mark Maziarz Photography, visit maziarz.com.
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