Q&A with Photographer Marnie Jazwicki
On "Here to Tell" a gallery exhbition and 2023 Photography Award winner
April 28, 2023
"Here to Tell" Marnie Jazwicki
The idea that a photograph acts as a document of time, place and history could not be better represented than by Marnie Jazwicki's photography for the Calgary Jewish Federations exhibit "Here to Tell" under the direction of the Marnie Bondar and Dahlia Libin co-chairs of the Calgary Jewish Federation’s Holocaust and Human Rights: Remembrance and Education. This work documents Holocaust survivors, both living and deceased, who have a connection to Calgary, Alberta. All 161 images were exhibited at the Glenbow Museum in 2022. The project was submitted to and selected as one of the 2023 Applied Arts Photography Awards winners in the Gallery Photography Series category.
How did you get into the business?
While in a Summer school program in grade 9 in Toronto, I was the still photographer while we made super 8 mm movies. By grade 10, my high school had a photography elective, and I had my first darkroom. After a year at Ryerson’s photography program, I came west to pursue the mountains. After another couple of years at Alberta University of the Arts and then Jazhart Studios was created in 1988.
What is the most difficult piece you worked on? What were the challenges?
After 35 years, the “Here to Tell” series was the most difficult for three reasons. 1) The Holocaust Survivors are aging, and many have health issues, so we had to be flexible and jump if a subject said yes and was available. 2) As the daughter of a survivor, having lost all of my father’s parents, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins, hearing each and everyone’s story was emotional. 3) We started the project during COVID in spaces with better air movement, often in a heated garage, sometimes setting up my background in front of the seniors living residences or in the subject backyards.
"Here to Tell" Marnie Jazwicki
What is the project you are most proud of? What was your creative process?
Besides the Glenbow Museum exhibit of “Here to Tell” another ongoing personal project that I am most proud of is the hard-to-get images from the Backcountry excursions my partner and I take either hiking or cross-country skiing. Often we spent a few days away from civilization to document the elements or extreme snow conditions. I am so inspired by nature and love spending nights in a tent, often cold and miserable, but it is worth it to capture first light through my lens.
Backcountry excursions Marnie Jazwicki
What advice would you give to those seeking a career in your field?
It has to be your passion to be able to weather the busy, and non-busy times. The marketing aspect also can be daunting. Sharing images you create that you are most moved by really does inspire the viewer, plus I think honouring who you are while photographing goes a long way.
How has winning Applied Arts Awards impacted your business?
When I post my Applied Arts Awards on social media, it is awesome that the Advertising Agencies, Marketing Clients, and Art Directors notice this recognition. It is an incentive to begin each shoot happy and grateful for this unique and ever-engaging career in Photography. Having my work recognized from such an experienced panel of judges encourages me to continue to grow creatively. Thank you, Applied Arts!
Who is your creative hero?
I don’t just have one creative hero… but so many that inspired me as a teenager and to be honest, still do. Alfred Stieglitz, Imogen Cunningham, Brett Weston, and Ansel Adams, mostly masters in black and white.
How do you stay inspired?
It might be a cliché but how can you not be inspired by what you see with your eyes moment by moment. It is a gift to see beauty and be curious about the world around you, why not capture it?
We agree. Thank you for continuing to show us the beauty of the world around us!