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Legendary Photos: The Stories Behind 7 of Ryszard Horowitz’s Iconic Images

How a master photo-composer crafts his mind-bending images
Photo of a woman behind a cello

Have you ever wondered about the stories behind some of the world’s most iconic images? Our series “Legendary Photos,” features photographers from Canon’s Explorer’s of Light program, past and present, giving us behind-the-scenes insight on how they captured these unforgettable moments.

For this installment of Legendary Photos, photo-composer Ryszard Horowitz who pioneered special effects photography before the advent of digital imaging shares the stories behind seven of his mind-bending images.

(Editor’s note: You can see previous installments of Legendary Photos on Art Wolfe here, on Walter Iooss Jr. here, and on David Hume Kennerly here.)

Extasy, 1978 (Above)

I was asked by my friend Mike Urbaniak, a great Polish jazz violinist, to design a cover for his new album entitled “Extasy.” This picture was a single exposure in a 35mm film camera with the violin put close to the lens and the leg model placed on her back about ten feet away from it. Since there was no camera attachment available at the time to check your exposure, composition, etc., I’d make a pencil sketch to communicate with my model so she could understand what effect I was looking for. Then there was the very long, two-hours plus of waiting until my film would come back from the lab to see if the exposure and focus was set correctly and my idea had come through. Luckily for me it did.

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