Cynthia Katz

Photographer
Studio: 
314
Cynthia Katz, Resident Artist

I have been around photographs and photography my entire life: my father was a self-employed advertising photographer. With a studio in Manhattan, and a darkroom at home, I'd accompany him to agencies or his studio for shoots. He photographed jobs at home, and I spent hours with him in the darkroom. My dad handed me my first camera, an old Nikon F (my family was ahead of the recycling curve) for my 18th birthday, and I travelled with it to Israel and Europe in what’s now termed a gap year.

In college I realized I'd be a photographer, with my "aha" moment while making a picture in Photo 1 at UNH. I switched to the BFA program in photography, and minored in Women's Studies. Feminist theory entered my Thesis work about gender roles in constructed images.  After a few years working 3 part-time jobs simultaneously, I went to graduate school at Bennington College for my MFA in photography, with additional concentration in dance (having considered dancing professionally) and video production. My dad gave me his old Rolleiflex (his first camera) and I also began using a 4x5, hungering for the descriptive details of larger negatives, and the smooth, tactile surface that resulted in the prints. With my MFA complete, I took a teaching job at Concord Academy that I'm still at.         

My photographic practice sits aside other realms of my life. Portraits are a reason to spend time with people, and sometimes to be an important caregiver. When my mom saw the pictures I made of a friend battling breast cancer, she said I couldn't photograph her if she got sick. So when she did, I didn't. Sometimes it's just as important to not put the camera between you and life. I admit I'm a voyeur; photographers love looking. Renovation projects, like Open House signs, draw me in, and I've made pictures. I sometimes will walk specifically to make pictures, or make pictures as an excuse to walk. Every summer, I spend time making cyanotypes of my gardens bounty.  One love I've hardly photographed is baseball. Probably because I spent so much time keeping the scorebook for my son's teams, I just didn't have the time. Now I'll have to make it a priority to use the 8x10 Deardorff that my dad recently passed on to me.  You can view my work, and learn more at www.cynthia-katz.com.