A photographer is reliving his childhood through an exhibition at the University of Toledo.
“My work up to this point has been not necessarily quiet, but it’s never been very loud,” said Zachariah Szabo, an artist visiting UT. “I’d love to make some work that is obnoxious and makes your teeth hurt.”
In his latest exhibition, Szabo explores his connection to his mother, who died of cancer in 2009.
“I definitely believe that my passion for photography, and art in general, comes from my mother,” Szabo said. “When I was growing up, she would always be taking pictures of me and she took me to a lot of museums and art classes.”
When he was younger, Szabo said his mother often sewed clothing and costumes for him to wear. After she passed, Szabo was searching for pictures of her when he rediscovered the photos his mother took of him as a child. He noticed that these photographs of him wearing the costumes displayed odd choices in poses and outfits.
“A tension between nature and nurture became apparent and that sparked my interest in recreating and reliving those moments as an adult,” Szabo said.
Szabo’s exhibition at UT is called “‘ZACH’ in person.” Influenced by his late mother, the images in the exhibit highlight objects that relate to personal memories. Szabo has recreated some of the outfits from his childhood using the sewing skills he learned from his mother.
“Creating the outfits and environments for the resulting photographs became a process that became an homage to her and to the singular period that I know as my childhood,” Szabo said.
Szabo is originally from Richfield, Ohio. He attended the University of Akron where he received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and photography. He then went on to attend the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. for his master’s in fine art and photography.
Szabo first started experimenting with photography during a 4-H project at the age of 13. At the time, he didn’t think of it as a future profession, but maintained interest in it as something he wanted to pursue. Later he received advice from a professor who knew Szabo’s work and suggested that he consider an MFA.
“I was accepted into Cranbrook Academy of Art and that’s where I really began to consider myself an artist, beyond just being a photographer,” Szabo said.
Szabo said he has been influenced by artists like Cindy Sherman, Stephen Shore, Barbara Kasten and T.R. Ericsson. Shore and Kasten each influenced specific bodies of work in Szabo’s undergraduate career.
Szabo’s exhibit will be on display, along with the works of other artists until Oct. 3 at the UT Center for the Visual Arts Main Gallery at 620 Grove Place, next to the Toledo Museum of Art.
A public reception featuring the artist will be held on Thursday, Sept. 17 from 5:30 until 9 p.m.