Paul Kozal - Photography
Paul Kozal, a self taught photographer, was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. He first became interested in photography when the family camera was passed down from his father to his two brothers and then finally to him, the last in line.
While attending Benedictine University of Illinois in the 1980s, Paul began to study photography on his own since there were no art courses offered. After graduating with a B.S. in Economics he went to work for Alcala's Western Wear in Chicago as a boot designer and eventually became the photographer for the store's catalogs and advertising. He then worked at Wolf Camera as a salesperson and lab technician. A few years later, he opened a photography studio in the Chicago area specializing in advertising and studio photography.
This new arrangement afforded him the opportunity to take time off and explore the Southwest, a particular area of interest. During his travels he realized that his personal photography was more challenging and rewarding than studio photography. Since 1989 he has been devoted to fine art photography and continues to do so until this day.
Kozal's subject matter consists mostly of landscapes, particularly in the American Southwest and California. Using black and white film he creates toned and hand-tinted gelatin-silver prints. Carefully masking significant portions of a print, Kozal selectively tones in selenium to render a rich purple-brown color or with sepia that produces a warmer tone. Sometimes he will apply both tones, in separate sections to the same photograph. Occasionally, he hand-colors some of the photographs with pencils and watercolors.
His photographs incorporate composition, atmosphere, texture, tone and value producing evocative and mysterious images. His photographs have been selected for many prestigious national and international juried exhibitions and won many awards. He is represented in several galleries throughout the United States. He currently resides in The Sea Ranch, California.
Each of us, at some time, has encountered a person or place that at once disarms our senses, seemingly transcending reality. The moment takes root within our consciousness, and its indelible impression forever alters our perspective. Capturing the essence of that moment and embodying it in a photographic image is my primary desire.
I prefer smaller, more intimate prints that first pique curiosity, and then draw the viewer deeper into the image's depths. Often, an image is sepia or selenium toned to exude luminosity and a gentle warmth that enhances the subject's ethereal quality.
Medium format and thirty-five millimeter are my preferred format because they enable me to react, almost spontaneously, to emerging lighting conditions. I primarily shoot with black and white film, finding it more readily conveys the inherent drama of my subjects.
© copyright 2010 - all rights to the images are retained by the artist