Joseph Szabo was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1944. After receiving his MFA from the Pratt Institute, he taught photography at Malverne High School in Long Island, New York from 1972 to 1999. During his tenure at the school his students became his subjects, capturing the unique years of adolescence in all their bravado, awkwardness and excitement. There is no pretence or artifice in these photographs, the subjects are captured as they really are, and as they want the world to perceive them.
Predominately taken during the seventies and eighties, the photographs have a timeless quality which both provide a remarkable evocation of the period in which they were taken, and also a freshness and intimacy which makes them feel like they were only taken yesterday. In 1978, his book on adolescence Almost Grown was published by Harmony Books and acclaimed by the American Library Association and placed on its “Best Books of the Year” listing.
The recipient of a National Endowment for the Visual Arts Fellowship, his work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennial, the International Centre of Photography (where he also teaches), the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Brooklyn Museum among others. His work has been collected by many institutions, including the Bibliotheque National in Paris, France, The George Eastman House Museum in Rochester, New York, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.