Photon Sorcerer Cat Trzaskowski

Cat Trzaskowski’s “photon sorcery” nods to history but generates the excitement of entirely new experiences. His work’s scope is rooted in his own life but spans centuries. It’s evocative without being imitative. Uncovering hidden worlds through art is the bedrock of Trzaskowski’s practice.

“More Life: The Ecstasy of St. Teresa” (2023), dye sublimation composite photo on aluminum, by Cat Trzaskowski

Trzaskowski’s senior thesis, comprised of photo composites, is informed by over a year and a half of research, travel, studio photography and “post-production wizardry.” The impetus, he says, is to uplift the queer community:

“My subjects are all friends or colleagues, conveyed the way I see them: magnificent, creative, worthy-of-being-protected, worthy of living long beautiful lives without fear. I used the formal visual language of the Baroque period, the time of the Counter Reformation, which aimed to persuade people through the power of beauty,” he says.

“More Life: The Inspiration of St. Matthew” (2023), dye sublimation composite photo on aluminum, by Cat Trzaskowski

“We often think of the camera as a tool of simple description, but Cat’s work shows the tremendous chasm between what our eye sees and what the photograph can show us.” 

– Professor Brad Farwell,  Photography and Mix Media

“Synapse I” (2021), by Cat Trzaskowski

Trzaskowski describes himself as a photographer and digital artist, a practitioner of photon sorcery, a term coined to describe his artistic process. “It’s creating things that don’t exist through the magic of lens, space, and light with photons and pixels.”

At FIT Trzaskowski says he learned to paint with light, to place precise splashes of color, to capture invisible movement, and to create dizzying visual illusions, all in-camera.

“The Seeker” (2020) Series, by Cat Trzaskowski

“The FIT Photography department is phenomenal,” says Trzaskowski. “It’s my found family. I was surrounded by people who were invested in helping me grow past self-imposed limitations…Because of what I’ve learned, I can conjure things never seen before in my art.”

“Bloom” (2020), self portrait, by Cat Trzaskowski

“Introducing imperfections and distortions with various acrylic materials, mirrors, filters and even everyday objects allows me to improvise as I shoot. The magic comes from the unpredictability of the outcome.”

Trzaskowski describes how growing up with aphantasia — an inability to create mental imagery — compelled him to draw:

“When I read a book it was hard to visualize the story in my mind, so I would want to draw it. It was my way of bringing something invisible into a visual world. I think that drives the work I create. I look through my lens and that is the portal of revelation.”

“She Commands Chaos” (2022), by Cat Trzaskowski

“Cat’s artistic vision, and technical prowess, come together to create something, which moves beyond the raw material of a superficial reality toward a more complex and beautiful truth.” 

– Professor Brad Farwell, Photography and Related Media

“Back to Stardust” (2022), by Cat Trzaskowski

Trzaskowski says he “romanticizes” his life as in a “Wes Anderson-like narrative always going through my head.”

Thinking in this poetic is fortifying. “It’s been a bumpy journey. There have been difficult times, but doing this work is such a joy that I can’t help rhapsodizing about it.”

“The Hares of Iberia” (2021), digital photo composite by Cat Trzaskowski

Trzaskowski credits much of his progress and growth to his time at FIT.

“The FIT Photography department is phenomenal. It feels like my found family. I was surrounded by people who were invested in helping me grow past self-imposed limitations. So many professors and staff pushed me to achieve what I didn’t think was possible. They showed me how to walk the path, and for that I will always be grateful. Because of what I’ve learned, I can conjure things never seen before in my art.”

“The Story Makes You Who You Are” (2021), self portrait by Cat Trzaskowski

Cat Trzaskowski’s BFA thesis, a series of seven large-scale prints, will be the subject of a solo exhibition in September. “More Life: A Baroque Celebration of Queer Identity” will be on view at ChaShaMa at 266 W 37 St in NYC, from September 16 to October 5, 2023.

To see more of Cat Trzaskowski’s work, go to: and on IG @cattrzaskowskiphoto.

To learn more about the School of Art and Design’s Photography and Related Media’s degree programs, go to Photography at FIT.

All images used with permission.

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