Richard Baznik has more to celebrate than his 40-year milestone on the Case Western Reserve University campus. Often seen around campus with his camera in hand, recently the photographer had his images exhibited as part of a thesis project, "Pavement Memoirs," by Gary Rozanc at the University of Arizona's Museum of Art.
The project with Baznik's photographs was one of 14 installations by 14 MFA candidates in the thesis show. It ended May 18.
"This was my first museum exhibition," said Baznik, who is currently writing the campus history as director of the Institute for the Study of the University in Society. Since 2004, he has run the "Campus Markings" contest in which he uses his close-up photos of Case Western Reserve buildings to encourage people to explore the campus environment.
Baznik's photographs for the exhibit came about through his blogging with other photographers at the online forum at http://www.photo.net. Rozanc, a master of fine arts student in graphic design at the University of Arizona, asked for advice on medium and large format cameras in February.
Rozanc wanted to know if he should rent a large format 8x10 or 4x5 camera to create a number of three-foot by eight-foot images. When hung like banners next to each other, the images would create a panoramic view of a part of downtown Cleveland for his project, which explores the loss of population in the nation's older cities.
According to Baznik, the Cleveland part grabbed his attention, as did the large format questions about a type of camera he often uses in his landscape and architectural images.
The consensus among the photographers on the forum was that it would take Rozanc more time than he had to master a large format camera. The photographers also advised Rozanc to try the camera before making a trip from Arizona to Cleveland.
But Baznik, who enjoys photographing buildings, replied that he is a "serious amateur photographer," who did know his way around shooting 4x5 black and white photographs. He encouraged Rozanc to email him.
Rozanc, who will join the graphic arts faculty at Truman State University in Missouri in the fall, and Baznik connected via email and worked out details. Baznik offered to take the photographs.
In March, Rozanc made a trip to Cleveland. In 18 inches of snow one Sunday morning, and while Rozanc directed, Baznik photographed the images for the panoramic series of Playhouse Square. Baznik then headed to the darkroom and developed the film. Hours later Rozanc flew home to Arizona with the negatives.
Baznik and his wife Donna made the trip to Arizona to see the exhibit in April. "It was quite exciting," remarked Baznik.
He has been taking photographs since he learned the skills from his father, also "a serious, amateur" photographer. "I grew up thinking all fathers had dark rooms in the basement," said Baznik. "He got me taking, processing and printing my own photos when I was about 10 — 55 years ago."
Baznik has been at Case Western Reserve for a total of 40 years now. He came to campus in 1968 as director of university publications, a position he held until 1970. From 1970-76 he served as director of university communications; from 1976-87 as special assistant to the president; from 1987-2002, vice president for public affairs; 2002-03, vice president for community and government relations; and in 2003, he began his current position in the Institute for the Study of the University in Society.
In addition to the exhibit at the museum in Arizona, Baznik displayed some of his campus images during the annual Hessler Street Fair, which coincided with commencement weekend activities. To view a sampler of Baznik's personal works visit http://photo.net/photos/Richard%20Baznik.
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