Claus Mroczynski, photograph by Pauline Mroczynski, 2005, courtesy of Pauline Mroczynski
BORN: 1941, Essen, Germany
DIED: January 21, 2006, New Hope, Pennsylvania
I became a landscape photographer because my love of the environment and its ever-changing beauty. I attempt to capture this unique American landscape in its entire splendor as well as subtle details. I am devoted to the survival of our endangered environment. Hopefully an awareness of what we all must strive to preserve will be experienced through these photographs.
From the time he was a child, German-born photographer Claus Mroczynski was fascinated with the indigenous peoples of North America, especially the ancient inhabitants of the American Southwest. Later in his life, as an accomplished photographer, he spent more than two decades visiting the rugged deserts, caves, mesas, and mountains of the area, producing an evocative portrait of sacred places past and present. Mroczynski's sensitivity and respect for these places earned him access to many hidden sites that few have visited; Ron Richelieu, former Executive Director of Mesa Verde National Park, described the resulting series of photographs as a "testament to the richness of an ancient culture that lives on today."
Born in 1941 in Essen, Germany, Mroczynski received his initial art training at the Fachhochschule for Design in Dortmund, Germany and also studied with renowned photographers Ansel Adams, Wynne Bullock and Paul Caponigro at the Ansel Adams Workshops in Yosemite National Park, California. Mroczynski was schooled in the advanced technical skills that were pioneered by Adams, and like Adams was committed to the expressive powers of the photographic image. "Technique is important," Mroczynski said, "but not as important as what you say and show in the picture."
He exhibited his work throughout the East Coast, as well as in Germany, Puerto Rico, and the Southwest, and his photographs are in such prestigious collections as the Smithsonian Institution and the Denver Art Museum. A resident of Bucks County, Mroczynski maintained a studio near New Hope for 17 years until his death in 2006. He has exhibited twice at the James A. Michener Art Museum, including the retrospective Sacred Places of the Southwest in 2008.