Suzanne Szasz

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Suzanne Szasz (October 20, 1915 – July 3, 1997) was a Hungarian-born American photographer of children and family life.


Suzanne Szasz (June 1973)
At a Block Party on East 35th Street between Lexington and Madison Avenue.

Born Suzanne Szekely in 1915 in Budapest, daughter of Joseph (a doctor) and Maria (Baron) Szekely, at thirty-one Szasz moved to the United States in 1946.[1]

In 1947 she divorced her first husband Sandor Szasz, a diplomat, and working in New York that year as a counsellor at a children's summer camp Szasz began photographing with a borrowed camera.[2] Encouraged by winning a cover competition for the Ladies' Home Journal, she became a freelance photographer,[3] selling pictures to Life, Look, Parents, Good Housekeeping,[4] McCall's and Family Circle. An example of her work of this period, rare because it was specially commissioned instead of being 'on spec', is a story she made, with minimum equipment and mostly available light, over the course of eight months in 1952 for Women's Home Companion magazine; photographs in the children's polio ward of New York's Willard Parker Hospital. The series centres on 6 year old Eileen Dicheck.[5] Interviewed for a Photography magazine article[6] covering her approach to the story, she says:

"I photograph best when other people are present–where there Is a relationship between the child and other children or adults. Il you put me in a room alone with a child then I can only photograph my relation to the child. But I am interested in the real relationships that chIldren have with the world around them, and not how they act in front of the camera."

From the 1950s she photographed, along with Ray Schorr, at the Pinewoods Camp at Long Pond in Plymouth, Massachusetts for traditional dance and music.[7]

Szasz' arresting low-light image of a wide-eyed girl in a toy indian headdress was selected by Edward Steichen for the 'Childhood Magic' section of the world-touring The Family of Man show for the Museum of Modern Art, which was seen by 9 million viewers. She went on to participate in four other international group exhibitions in Europe and held a series of shows in New York.

Through the 1960s and 1970s Szasz produced portraits of artists and musicians including Russell Oberlin, Leonard Bernstein, Roslyn Tureck, Hilaire Hiler, Sylvia Marlowe, and Lee Hoiby, working alongside, or co-credited with, her husband Ray Schorr.[8]

Value to psychology of Szasz' imagery[edit]

Child psychologists,[9] including Bruno Bettelheim and doctors at the Gesell Institute of Human Development in New Haven found Szasz's capacity to work with children, and ability to seem to 'disappear' when taking her apparently intimate and candid pictures,[10][11][6] of value to their work and collaborated with her.[1][12][13][14] She assisted in another study of women who used the birth control pill in Puerto Rico in 1962.[1] Her work illustrated articles of Margaret Mead,[15] Elizabeth Taleporos, Karl W. Deutsch and others.

Though she was not a parent herself, in the context of the post-war 'baby boom' Szasz's books on, and imagery of, child-rearing proved popular amongst an audience of anxious first-time parents eager for information and affirmation. Dr Benjamin Spock, who wrote introductions to two of her books described her as "...a sensitive student of (children's) feelings...".[16]

Contributions to the profession[edit]

Szasz was a founding and active member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers,[17][18] through which she promoted the standing of women in the profession.[19][3] She contributed numbers of texts on technique in photography, particularly on using available light,[20][21] and her speciality, capturing children and their parents in a natural and unobtrusive manner.[22] Other texts demonstrate her ability to 'read' and interpret body language, gesture and other visual clues of emotion.[23]

Personal life[edit]

In America, on December 22, 1956, Szasz married Ray Shorr, also a photographer,[24] and they remained together until his death in 1994. There were no children from either of her marriages. Szasz died on July 3, 1997 in her native Budapest whilst visiting her relatives.


  • Prudden, Bonnie; Szasz, Suzanne (1987), Fitness from six to twelve (1st Ballantine Books ed.), Ballantine Books, ISBN 978-0-345-33302-5
  • Szasz, Suzanne; Taleporos, Elizabeth (1984), Sisters, brothers, and others (1st ed.), W.W. Norton, ISBN 978-0-393-01810-3
  • Szasz, Suzanne (1980), The unspoken language of children, Norton, ISBN 978-0-393-00989-7
  • Szasz, Suzanne (1978), The body language of children (1st ed.), Norton, ISBN 978-0-393-01175-3
  • Suzanne Szasz (1977), Modern wedding photography, New York American Photographic, ISBN 978-0-8174-2439-8[25]
  • Hayes, Dannielle B (1977), Women photograph men, Morrow, ISBN 978-0-688-03214-2
  • Szasz, Suzanne (1976), Child photography simplified, Amphoto, ISBN 978-0-8174-0190-0
  • Szasz, Suzanne (1966), How I photograph children, Amphoto
  • Szasz, Suzanne; Gallico, Paul (1964), The silent miaow: a manual for kittens, strays, and homeless cats, Crown Publishers, ISBN 978-0-517-50305-8
  • Szasz, Suzanne; Lyman, Susan Elizabeth (1960), Young folks' New York, Crown Publishers
  • Szasz, Suzanne; Katz, Phyllis B; Wholberg, Meg (1960), The child care guide: and family adviser, The Parents' Institute, Inc
  • Appell, Clara (1959), We are six: the story of a family, Golden Press
  • Szasz, Suzanne (1957), Guide to photographing children, Greenberg
  • Wright, George B., ed. (1955), Available light and your camera, American Photographic Book Pub. Co
  • Langstaff, N.; Szasz, S. (1955), A tiny baby for you, Harcourt, Brace. New York
  • Wolf, Anna W. M; Szasz, Suzanne (1954), Helping your child's emotional growth, Doubleday


  • Anna W. M. Wolf & Suzanne Szasz. 'David makes a friend'. In Woman's home companion. August 1950
  • Anna W. M. Wolf & Suzanne Szasz. 'Let me have it'. In Woman's home companion, September 1950
  • Szasz, Suzanne, 'How to Read Your Child's Body Language'. in Good Housekeeping ; New York Vol. 186, Iss. 6, (Jun 1978): 80, 82, 84, 86.

Texts about[edit]

  • Kreisel, Martha (1999), American women photographers: a selected and annotated bibliography, Greenwood Press, pp. 268–269, ISBN 978-0-313-30478-1


Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • December 1, 1982 – December 31, 1982 Suzanne Szasz: Juxtapositions. Photography Unlimited Gallery, New York.[16]
  • The Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest (retrospective 1982)[26]
  • January 11, 1981 – February 11, 1981 Suzanne Szasz: Children and Other People in Black and White from 1950 to the Present. Camera Club of New York.[27]
  • February 1982. Suzanne Szasz: Children and Other People. Neikrug Gallery, New York.[28]

Group exhibitions[edit]

  • December 12, 1977 - January 15, 1978 Weltausstellung der Fotografie - Die Kinder dieser Welt. 515 Fotos aus 94 Ländern von 238 Fotografen. Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich, HGKZ, Switzerland.
  • September 16, 1977 – October 9, 1977 Women Photograph Men. International Center of Photography, New York.
  • September – October 1975 Breadth of Vision: Portfolios of Women Photographers Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York.[29]
  • October 13, 1973 - Nov 18, 1973. 3rd Weltausstellung der Fotografie - Unterwegs zum Paradies. Gruner + Jahr AG, Druck- und Verlagshaus, Stern, Hamburg, Germany
  • December 6, 1968 - January 5, 1969 Die Frau - 2nd Weltausstellung der Photographie. Kunstgewerbemuseum der Stadt Zürich, KGMZ, Switzerland.
  • October 2, 1964 - November 8, 1964 Der Mensch - First Weltausstellung der Fotografie. Organisiert von 26 europäischen Museen zum Thema: Was ist der Mensch?. Kunstgewerbemuseum der Stadt Zürich, KGMZ, CH.
  • January 24, 1955 - May 8, 1955 The Family of Man. The Museum of Modern Art, New York[30]


  1. ^ a b c Suzanne Szasz, 81, Photographer of Children.(Cultural Desk)(Obituary). (1997, July 10). The New York Times, p. The New York Times, July 10, 1997.
  2. ^ Szasz, Suzanne. "Take Your Camera to Camp," Modern Photography 15, 7 (July 1951):58-61
  3. ^ a b Szasz, Suzanne. "Want to Be a Freelance?" Popular Photography 30, 5(May 1952): 46-51
  4. ^ How to Read Your Child's Body Language, Szasz, Suzanne . Good Housekeeping ; New York Vol. 186, Iss. 6, (Jun 1978): 80, 82, 84, 86.
  5. ^ Keppler's Vault 3: A Polio Story, Feb 23, 2018
  6. ^ a b Bob Schwalberg, 'Suzanne Szasz shoots a Polio Picture story: by natural light and bounce flood her sensitive camera records a little girl's fight against a crippling disease'. Photography, Volumes 32-33. Ziff Davis Publishing Company, 1953, p.36-40,78
  7. ^ Guide to the Pinewoods Camp Collection, 1907-2008
  8. ^ Esther Brown Photo Archive 1950-1989
  9. ^ Karl W. Deutsch (1972) Relating and Responding: The Adult, Childhood Education, 48:5, 227-235, DOI: 10.1080/00094056.1972.10727368
  10. ^ Szasz, Suzanne. "The Invisible Photographer," U.S. Camera 15, 1(January 1952): 38-40
  11. ^ Weber, Mrs. Helen. "Youngsters in Action: Two Days with SuzanneSzasz," The Professional Photographer 82 (November 1955): 30-35
  12. ^ Helms, D. B., & Turner, J. S. (1976). Exploring child behavior. WB Saunders Company.
  13. ^ Rambusch, N. M. (1963). Learning how to learn: An American approach to Montessori. Helicon.
  14. ^ Williams, B. M. (1970). "Of Hairy Arms and a Deep Baritone Voice": A Symposium: Men in Young Children's Lives; 1. Childhood Education, 47(3), 139-147.
  15. ^ Mead, M. (1970). Working Mothers: And Their Children. Childhood Education, 47(2), 66-71.
  16. ^ a b Fondiller, Harvey V. 'Shows We've Seen'. Popular Photography, Mar 1983, Vol. 90, No. 3. ISSN 1542-0337. p.93-94, 170
  17. ^ Schwalberg, Bob. "Portfolio: Suzanne Szasz," Popular Photography 9 1, 1 (January 1984): 14-20
  18. ^ ASMP Picture Annual 1957 Simon and Schuster, p.192
  19. ^ Ferrers, V. (1959). PRESS PHOTOGRAPHY NOTES. The British Journal of Photography, 106(5173), 371.
  20. ^ Wright, George B., ed. (1955), Available light and your camera, American Photographic Book Pub. Co
  21. ^ Szasz, Suzanne. "Shoot a Sequence," Popular Photography 28, 6 (June1951): 76-79
  22. ^ Szasz, Suzanne (1976), Child photography simplified, Amphoto, ISBN 978-0-8174-0190-0
  23. ^ Szasz, Suzanne (1980), The unspoken language of children, Norton, ISBN 978-0-393-00989-7
  24. ^ Shorr, Ray. "Suzanne Szasz,' The Picture Universe. U.S. Camera 1961. New York: U. S. Publishing Co., 1960
  25. ^ Bezner, L. (2002). Wedding Photography: 'A Shining Language'. Visual Resources, 18(1), 1-16.
  26. ^ Szasz, S., Popper, P., & Magyar Nemzeti Galéria. (1982). Suzanne Szasz: A retrospective at the Hungarian National Gallery. Budapest: Hungarian National Gallery
  27. ^ New York Magazine. 9 Feb 1981. Vol. 14, No. 6. ISSN 0028-7369 New York Media, LLC. p.77
  28. ^ New York Magazine. 15 Mar 1982 Vol. 15, No. 11. ISSN 0028-7369. New York Media, LLC p.86
  29. ^ New York Magazine, 13 Oct 1975. Vol. 8, No. 41. New York Media, LLC ISSN 0028-7369. p.32
  30. ^ See the master checklist at Suzanne Szasz is referred as "Suzanne Szasz, stateless"

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