Ryszard Horowitz was born in Krakow in Poland on May 5th 1939. Four months later the Nazis had invaded his homeland and his entire family ended up being sent to a series of concentration camps. They miraculously survived and at the war's end were amongst the few Jewish families who were able to re-establish their lives in Krakow. Ryszard is one of the youngest known survivors of Auschwitz.
Ryszard studied art at the High School of Fine Arts in Krakow and then went on to major in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in his home city. In 1956 during a brief political and cultural thaw in Poland the government awarded subsidies to encourage new and original art forms and Krakow suddenly emerged as a center of avant-garde jazz, painting, theater and filmmaking. Ryszard, who was seventeen at the time, took full advantage of being at the heart of the action and consequently became fascinated with American photography.
In 1959, he finally achieved his ambition of immigrating to the United States and enrolled at New York's famed Pratt Institute. While still a student at Pratt he was given a scholarship to be apprenticed to Alexey Brodovitch, one of the most influential figures in the world of editorial design and photography at the time. After graduating from Pratt in 1963, Ryszard then worked for a number of film and design companies and as an art director for Grey Advertising.
In November 1967 he left Grey and opened his own photography studio. Photography would be his lifelong career and passion. In the ensuing four decades his work has been exhibited, published and collected around the globe and Ryszard has been awarded every major accolade that can be bestowed on a photographer including Gloria Artis Gold Medal of Merit to Culture Awarded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Poland and Doctor Honoris Causa Awarded by Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.
He is recognized as a pioneer of special effects photography predating digital imaging.