Joe Szabo is a teacher, photographer, and author who began his photographic studies at Pratt Institute where he received an MFA degree in 1968. He taught photography at Malverne High School in Long Island from 1972-1999 and at the International Center of Photography in New York since 1978.
Joseph Szabo has been photographing his teen-age students for the past twenty-five years, and has perfectly captured the ambivalence of that time of life. As a high school teacher of photography, he takes seriously their pretentions, passions, and confusions, and he knows intimately how students put on, act up, behave, and misbehave. As Cornell Capa says in his foreward, “Szabo’s camera is sharp, incisive, and young, matching his subjects. One can use many adjectives: revealing, tender, raucous, sexy, showy… in Szabo’s hands, the camera is magically there, the light is always available, the moment is perceived, seen, and caught.”
In 1978, his book on adolescence Almost Grown was published by Harmony Books and acclaimed by the American Library Association and placed on its “Best Books of the Year” listing. In 1984, he received a Photography fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennial, the International Center of Photography, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Brooklyn Museum among others. His work has been collected by many institutions including the Bibliotheque National in Paris, France, The George Eastman House Museum in Rochester, New York, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.