Ryszard Horowitz (born 1939) was born in Kraków, Poland. At the age of only four months, he and his family were transported into a series of concentration camps following the Nazi invasion of Poland. After years of imprisonment, he and his parents survived the horrors of the work camps. Ryszard, among the youngest known survivors of Auschwitz, was only five years old when the Russian Army liberated him.
Horowitz and his family were one of the few Jewish families to be able to return to Kraków. As a child, Ryszard grew up with Roma Ligocka and Roman Polanski. It was his time spent living with Polanski, that stoked Horowitz's interest in the arts. He later studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, where he became interested in photography, particularly the work of American photographers.
In 1956, Poland experienced a brief political and cultural thaw. The government encouraged new art forms, granting subsidies to people practicing their crafts in their country. Kraków became a booming center for artistic exploration as theater, filmmaking and painting were everywhere. Avant-garde jazz was of particular interest to Horowitz. Photographing jazz legends such as Dave Brubeck, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Paul Desmond, Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin, Coleman Hawkins, Carmen McRae, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Jerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Rushing, and more Horowitz witnessed the revival first-hand.
Ryszard immigrated to the United States in 1959. He enrolled at the Pratt Institute in New York City, where he later received a scholarship to apprentice under Alexey Brodovitch. Honing his craft in the industry of editorial design and photography, Ryszard saw the appeal of commercialism in art. This reinforced his passion for photography to be his career, as well as his hobby.
After graduating from Pratt in 1962, Horowitz took several jobs with film and design companies, including a stint as art director for Grey Advertising. But in 1967 he decided to open his own photography studio. Horowitz's photos have been exhibited, published and collected, and he has received multiple awards for his work. Horowitz has been recognized as a pioneer of special effects photography prior to digital technology, and has updated his techniques as technologies have changed.