Born in Hamburg in 1970, Gregor Törzs took to photography in a roundabout way. After dropping out of school, he moved to Los Angeles in his early twenties and trained as a filmmaker under the Oscar winning special-effects expert, John Dykstra and Doug Smith, later working as a lightning technician and cameraman. His career took an interesting turn when he switched roles from behind the camera to act in front. As an actor he has played parts in various cinematic and TV-productions, while still continuing his work as a cameraman. His filmmaking aesthetics are readily evident in his subsequent venture into art photography.
Törzs is not a man to shirk obstacles that happen to come his way. For his series “Ciel Lourd” (Heavy Sky) he submerged literally over the course of a year. Equipped with a sixty-year old camera in a custom-made waterproof case, Törzs spent 250 hours underwater to capture the mysterious beauties in the depths of the Red Sea. Not just that: Driven by the vision of creating dream-like surreal photos, Törzs took glass-plated matte paintings printed with motifs with him into the ocean as backdrops to merge with the submarine world into wonderful new images.
Visitors to the exhibition should not be surprised if they discover mysterious gates or even planes surrounded by delicately shimmering shoals of fish. Even when Törzs refrains from manipulating images and depicts the underwater world as he finds it, the viewer is still inclined to doubt whether this really is Neptune´s domain in the raw? Or, does the photo rather reveal a picturesque landscape crowned by a dense and heavy sky – a ciel lourd?
Whereas Törzs the dreamer comes to the fore in the series “Ciel Lourd”, the “Boy on Safari” reveals more of his creative and inventive flair. By skillfully selecting details of his photographs and intentionally darkening the scenery, he leads viewers to believe that they are in the midst of wild plant and animal life. Only later after a closer look do they realize, that this is actually not the case. Törzs usage of light is equally astounding. Instead of illuminating his motifs with artificial light sources, he confines himself in “Boy on Safari” – as well as in “Ciel Lourd” – to using only the actual light that is available. His interplay with seeming and being, his constant probing and trialing, as well as occasional manipulation of visible reality, enhance the appeal of his individual and distinctive photos evidencing the exceptional skills he brings to his chosen art.
Zurich, 2009, Paulina Szczesniak