Sylvia Plachy, a photographer since graduating from Pratt Institute in 1965, has had four photo books published. Unguided Tour, with a record by Tom Waits, won ICP’s Infinity Award for Best Publication of 1990. Her other book Red Light, 1996, is a collaboration with writer James Ridgeway about the sex industry. Signs & Relics, 2000 has a froeword by Win Wenders, and her most recent, personal history of Eastern Europe entitled, Self Portrait with Cows Going Home, published by Aperture in 2004 won the Golden Ligth Award for best book of the year and has been reprinted in 2006.
Sylvia holds a BFA from Pratt Institute, is a Guggenheim Fellow and has received an Arts and Achievemetn Award from the Queens Museum, and a C.A.P.S grant from New York State. She has a Page One Award from Columbia School of Journalism for a photo essay about Three Mile Island a year after the accident. She’s had an M.T.A Arts for Transit Award and she is the recipient of a Lucie Award from W.I.P.I. for Outstanding Achievement for Women in Photography, 2004. In 2005 she won Best Photo Essay for her photographs of China in Fortune Magazine from the Asian Art Directors Association.
Sylvia had been a staff photographer at The Village Voice in New York City between 1974 – 2004, where she has had a weekly column for about eight years, a picture without words, called “Unguided Tour”. More recently, for more than a year, 2005-2006 as staff photographer at the The New Yorker, her pictures opened the magazine in the “Goings On About Town” section and for 13 weeks in 2005, she had a column in The New York Times Metro Section called “Vintage”. Her credits include Dance, Ink, Newsweek, Art Forum, GEO, Granta, Grand Street, The New York Times Magazine, Double Take, Wired, Metropolis, Fortune, Time Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler.
Sylvia has conducted workshops and lectures at Anderson Ranch, ICP, NYU, The Maine Photographic Workshop, Frineds of Photography, Empire State College, The University of Memphis, Glassel School of Art in Houston, The New York Public Library, Center of Photography at Woodstock, The High Museum in Atlanta, Centro de la Imagen en Mexico City, the Arvada Center and the National Arts Club in NYC.
Her works is in many private collections and at the George Eastman House, The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Minneapolis Institute of Fine Art, The Queens Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, MOMA in New York City, the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
She has had one person shows in Penn Station, The Palladium, The Whitney Museum at Philip Morris, The Minneapolis Institute of Fine Arts, The Queens Museum and in galleries in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Denver, Tokyo, Manchestar, San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Budapest, Vancouver, Ljubljana and Pingyau, China. Important group exhibits have included, “Mirrors and Windows” at MOMA, NY, “Mexico through Foreign Eyes”, “Made in Hungary”, “A History of Women Photographers”, “Hope”, “Cuba on the Verge” and “New York City: The Capital of Photography”. Sylvia took part in two millenium projects, both travelling exhibits: “The National Millenium Survey”, in conjunction with the College of Santa Fe and “Indivisible”, organized by the University of Arizona.
In 2007 Aperture will be publishing her photographs taken for The New Yorker as a book entitled, Goings On About Town.
Born in Budapest, she left after the 1965 Hungarian Revolution with her parents and inmigrated to the United States in 1958. She lives in New York City with her husband. They have one son, the actor Adrien Brody.
February 2009-Award: Dr.-Erich-Salomon-Award 2009, German Society for Photography (DGPh).