Jan Pietrzak

Jan Pietrzak

Member, Freestyle Advisory Board of Photographic Professionals

Biography

Jan Paul Pietrzak is a college educator and fine art photographer specializing in the Xtreme Process known as Platinum/Palladium Printing. Born in the mid-west during the late 1940's, Mr. Pietrzak was raised in Southern California where he still makes his home.

"The first photograph I made was in 1956, probably of the Rose Parade, because I had been given a Brownie Hawkeye 127 for that Christmas. It came with one roll of color film and a flash, neither of which I use in my work today."

Mr. Pietrzak received his formal photographic education during the early 1970's from La Verne College. In 1974, as part of his independent study program, he attended the Ansel Adams Workshop in Yosemite, California. The experience he gained there still informs his work even though his images now speak with a soft and subtle voice rather than the grand and bold voice associated with Adams' monumental style. His approach is also influenced by his earlier experience in graphic arts, design and printmaking obtained in the 1960's. The combination of these two, sometimes divergent, vernaculars creates a photographic vocabulary that defines his approach.

"What I like about the platinum process is that it has a whole different feel," says Pietrzak. "It evokes the subtleties of the landscapes I choose to photograph and it becomes a part of the paper rather than only a new surface as with silver prints. It combines for me the processes of fine art printmaking and photography in a much more intimate way."

He continues, "Platinum printing is a contact print process requiring the use of large format cameras. The larger camera causes me to consider each photograph very carefully and since it is not possible to manipulate the image in the darkroom through enlargement or other traditional techniques, each image needs to be complete at the moment it is exposed."

Jan Pietrzak is currently teaching photography at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, and at Glendale and Citrus Colleges in Southern California.

Mr. Pietrzak has instructed at numerous workshops including Camera-Image Workshops, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department (The Los Angeles Photography Centers), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Sierra Club, Victor School in Colorado, and Owens Valley Photography Workshops. He has also lectured at the University of California at Santa Cruz, California State University at Long Beach, Mt. San Antonio College, East Los Angeles College, and Pasadena City College.

His photographs are part of the permanent collection of the Polaroid Corporation, the Platypus Group Portfolios, the Esculea Activia de Fotografia in Cuernavaca, Mexico, the California Polytechnic State University at San Louis Obispo, and the Strathmore Paper Company.

His work has also been part of many group shows in both the United States and Italy and is currently represented by Bostick and Sullivan Collections, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Jan Pietrzak's major work is of the deserts of California - the place where he feels most at home.



Articles

The Platinum/Palladium Print

Ask The Experts

Jo, The good old days are gone, unfortunately, no one make a one step film anymore...sorry thats the best I can do on that. Inter-negs are a two step process for now. Try working with the Genius film, or the Arista lithos. By diluting the chemistry, you can get a good handle on the contrast.