I began making photographs at a fairly young age, something about a printed image has always intrigued me as far back as I can remember. The wealth of memory contained in one photograph is unparalleled. On a base level I believe my photographs are documents, often public, sometimes personal, occasionally both. However to me, more than anything, they are simply memories.

I am drawn to analog processes and the tactile nature they possess. There is a certain depth and permanence that is lost in the new digital world, and I am of the firm belief that a photograph is not finished until it has been printed.

My aesthetic has been described as dark, moody, intimate, gritty and voyeuristic, for what it’s worth. Someone once told me a very long time ago that my photographs reminded them of memories they didn’t know they had. I have yet to find a better way of describing what I’m hoping to accomplish with my work. Photographs make up the collective memory of our time, I’m searching for a small piece of that memory.


I was born on a Monday in Wyandotte, a small suburb of Detroit, and spent my entire childhood in Southeastern Michigan. My fascination with photography began at an early age, my first camera was a Fisher-Price / Kodak 110 at seven years old. At thirteen I borrowed my father’s Minolta and never gave it back. I still have it today. By sixteen my time was consumed by making and printing photographs. The photography instructor at school took me under his wing and by senior year, I was spending 4 out of 5 class periods in the school darkrooms.

Self Portrait, 2017

Self Portrait, 2017

Email: email (at) josephszymanski (dot) com
Mobile: +1.650.580.0576

I attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco during the industry-wide shift to digital capture. I tried my hand at digital photography for some years, but realized that I had no desire to ever think about custom white balance or camera firmware. I returned to film and the darkroom as my medium of choice. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus in Documentary Photography.

I continue to live in San Francisco today, working on various personal projects and the occasional freelance gig. Additionally, I have held a faculty position at the Academy of Art University for the past 10 years. 

Fine Art Prints

I am of the firm belief that a photograph is not finished until it has been printed. As such I take great pride and care in the printing of my work. All black and white prints are hand made in the darkroom by me using traditional processes and archival methods.

Prints of 5x7 and 8x10 inches, are un-manipulated, straight prints directly from the original negative, printed on double weight fiber base paper. All proofs are captioned and signed.

Master prints, in 11x14 inches and above, are custom printed on demand, using double weight fiber base paper. Master prints are selenium toned for permanence. All master prints are captioned and signed on the front of the print, outside of the image area.

Because of the handmade nature of these prints, no two pieces are ever absolutely identical. You can be confident when making a purchase that you will receive a completely unique, one-off, hand made piece of art or the highest quality and archival stability. All orders ship for a flat rate, and I guarantee satisfaction. If you are unhappy with your print, send it back, no questions asked, for a full refund. 

Standard pricing and sizes are as follows:

• 5x7 inch Print - $55.00 • 8x10 inch Print - $175.00

• 11x14 inch Master Print - $425.00    • 16x20 inch Master Print - $725.00

Please note that all prints are made on demand and are typically not kept "in stock." As such, it can take up to several weeks to fulfill any print order, depending on size and volume. Please keep this in mind when making a purchase. For a list of images that I regularly print, please visit the print shop. For all other inquiries regarding prints, please contact me directly...