Sylvia Plachy

(Budapest, Hungary, 1943 - )

North America, American

Plachy’s documentary-style photography captures aspects of everyday life in New York City.

Fleeing her home country in the bloody aftermath of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, Plachy and her parents immigrated to the United States when she was a teenager. Settling in Queens, New York, they were part of a large community of post-World War II Hungarian immigrants. She eventually enrolled at the Pratt Institute, where she took a photography course with Arthur Freed, which led her to decide to pursue a career as a photographer. Photographer André Kertész, who also fled Hungary for the United States after the war, became Plachy’s mentor and had a major impact on her work. “For the twenty years that I had the privilege of knowing him,” Plachy has said of Kertész, “I learned from him how to be a photographer. He passed on to me his tenderness toward his subjects and his love for the medium.”
Plachy is currently a contributing photographer for the New Yorker and was formerly a staff photographer for The Village Voice, a free New York weekly. Her work has been featured in over fifty publications, including Art Forum, Fortune, the New York Times, and New York Magazine.

She has also published six books which combine photographs and prose: Unguided Tour, 1990, Red Light, 1996, Signs and Relics, 2000, Self-Portrait with Cows Going Home, 2004, De Reojo/Out of the Corner of My Eye, 2007 and Goings on About Town, 2007. Plachy has received a Lucie Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a CAPS Grant and the Dr. Erich Salomon award from the German Society for Photography.

Lives New York City


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