Marc Karzen / Bio
MARC KARZEN was born in Paris and raised in Louisville KY as well as Los Angeles.
Karzen’s photographic career grew out of street photography, magazine fashion photography, music portraiture and into the unique area of on-air photography for television.
In 1977 Karzen returned to his birthplace of Paris for a semester abroad and dropped out of the Sorbonne where he jump started his career as a magazine and street photographer. The enriched culture of Paris, London and Milan contributed to his creative growth.
Marc Karzen’s photographs show his passion for order and space through use of powerful colors, textures and design. As an accomplished fashion photographer, his skills have been acknowledged by some of Europe’s foremost fashion clients and magazines.
In Paris, Karzen's photographic influences were Guy Bourdin, Lee Friedlander, Toscani, Newton and Steve Hiett - and years later in New York, Richard Avedon and his studio team.
Karzen was invited to the opening of the Pompidou Centre by French abstract artist Jean Miotte which began his person journey of combing the floors of 'Boubourg' devouring the works of Mondrian, Kandinsky, Bacon, Matisse, Stella and Man Ray.
His educational background includes not only photography but architecture, graphic design and art history. The elements of his training can easily be seen in his bold, rich lines of color and forms that inhabit his work. Karzen has said, “My images succeed only when the strength of form surpasses subject by defining the relationship of shape to color”.
IL FOTOGRAGO, the Italian photo art review stated of his work, “From Karzen's images, the strong colors spread on wide surfaces distributed with a rigorous graphic equilibrium, broken at times by a point of attention, a face or unpredicted object, one notices a cultural background where modern painting and cinematography merge. There are bodies, architecture, and urban landscapes dominated by bright, sometimes violent light, which is almost that of the sun.”
Karzen’s work appeared in numerous publications though out Europe among them Harper’s & Queen, Depeche Mode, Company, Marie France, Votre Beauté, Marie Claire and until moving to NYC at age 23 where he shot for Rolling Stone, Glamour, GQ, Mademoiselle, Women’s Wear Daily and Seventeen as well as advertising agencies and record labels.
In New York, Marc was asked, at a moment’s notice, to shoot photo-animated stills of the SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE logo written in wet cement in front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza for the 1980 SNL main title sequence. This led to 12 seasons shooting interstitial photographs used on-air for segment titles, interstitials, faux-commercials, set backgrounds and props.
In 1982 as NBC'S LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN sought a distinctive look to brand and ID the show. Karzen along with art director Bob Pook and graphics coordinator Edd Hall, created the Emmy nominated “no-logo” concept where the show title was integrated into natural late night New York settings.
These iconic “bumper” images aired before and after commercials. Karzen shot hundreds of scenes all over New York over 10 years for Letterman. The original work is all pre-digital with in-camera props and as well as hand collage graphics on original chromogenic prints. These unique artworks have been stored in Karzen's archives and never displayed nor viewed in printed form by the public until now.
Karzen's LATE NIGHT work was nominated for the Emmy (Graphic Design and Title Sequences), contributed to 5 Emmy awards, 31 Emmy nominations, Broadcast Designers Association-Gold, Art Directors Club of NY, NY International Film & Television Awards. Other awards include Cannes International Advertising Festival and Chicago Film Festival.