John Sobczak was born in Detroit in 1960. His passion for photography began in the era of film and large format cameras and evolved to include the creative freedom offered by digital photography and computerized imagery. He draws inspiration from the everyday, from the landmark structures that provide the backdrop of our lives, to the people of Detroit who flow through these landscapes. His photographs have captured the communal spirt, from portraits of notable influencers that have helped shape the community to the many people of heart and grit who call Detroit their home. John has one tattoo, on his left forearm for his daughter, je crois en toi, translation, I believe in you. He has had two dogs, both blind and one cat who’s vision was fine. John attended the Center for Creative Studies until funds became an issue, he returned in 2009 to teach. The first celebrity John photographed was Mark “The Bird” Fidrych while he was still in high school, the second was Bob Hope. John has run a marathon, biked a century and completed two triathlons where he finished dead last in the swim. John has been to the top of the Mackinac Bridge as well as a mile under Cleveland in a salt mine. As a teenager he once set his house on fire while taking a photograph. John’s father was a self employed mason who passed away while working, John was 8. His mother was a nurse at the VA hospital first in Detroit and then Ann Arbor. He speaks two sentences of Polish, His first car, a Mustang convertible was painted with a roller to hide the rust. He has pumped gas, baked donuts, laid sod, spent time as a lifeguard and worked the midnight shift at a 7/11. John plays no musical instruments. As a student, John once talked actor Jeff Daniels into sitting for a portrait. Jeff has since been on the cover of one of his books and wrote the forward for another. John is left handed. There are few images of him in front of the camera. John loves to teach. In 2007 portfolios of his work became part of the permanent collections of two of the most prestige’s Museums in the country, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Detroit Institute of Art. Other museums include the Detroit Historical Society, Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the main branch of the Detroit Public Library. He has published 5 books, the most recent, Portraits in Motion, portraits of some of the best dancers in Michigan. John is currently an adjunct professor at The College for Creative Studies and Schoolcraft College. He lives in Birmingham, MI with his wife Jackie.
John's ArtPrize Entries
These are John's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.