While the images Zsuzsanna Luciano captures with her camera are indeed breathtaking, the message behind them is equally inspiring.
The Hungarian-American artist, whose booth is a regular at the Rose Squared shows, is a conservation photographer who creates panoramic images with multiple shots that are stitched together using a software program called Autopano.
The finished product isn’t digitally enhanced or falsely manipulated. Autopano isn’t Photoshop.
Using a tripod and her artistic eye, Zsuzsanna captures the beauty of the natural world authentically by stitching together what can be as many as 70 or more images to create one panoramic work. The competed panoramic photograph transports the audience to that magical place, whether it be the canals in Venice, a majestic oak tree in Charleston, South Carolina, or the enormity of the night sky from where she is standing.
“Each and every photograph has a story,” Zsuzsanna said.
That message is as integral to Luciano Photography as the awe-inspiring images themselves.
These beautiful spots are threatened by environmental issues that range from lowering sea levels to pollution to a lack of appreciation and understanding of how easily they can be lost.
“We always go after the things that are in danger and might not be here tomorrow,” said Zsuzsanna’s husband, Mike, who manages Luciano Photography, a business that both consider a team effort that includes contributions from their teenage son, Michael.
Mike Luciano, also an artist and a talented bladesmith, is his wife’s greatest ambassador.
“My wife is incredible at what she does,” he said. “I’ve never seen her function in a comfort zone. She’s either got her camera at the top of a mountaintop so high that her nose is bleeding or she’s at the bottom of the ocean.”
At 19 years old, Zsuzsanna became interested in photography in her native country, Hungary. While she is a talented painter in acrylics and oils, she prefers the camera because interpreting art never appealed to her as much as literally showing what is actually there.
When a fellow artist introduced her to the idea of panoramic art done by stitching together multiple images, she was hooked. “I’ve always liked creating large pieces,” she said. “The bigger the piece, the more details you can show, the more captivating the image.”
Her initial attempt at panoramic photography —the inside of the Great Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary in 2009 —consisted of 82 images, too many for the computer she had at the time to handle efficiently. It took three years to perfect what today is a magnificent panoramic image of the landmark in her hometown, and “from there it just bloomed,” Zsuzsanna said.
While home base for the Lucianos is Monmouth County, New Jersey, more than a million miles of travel of hiking, biking, kayaking, mountain climbing, helicopter and scuba diving excursions are all part of finding the unspoiled natural subjects that she stitches together using the specialized software.
The environmental message that each of her photographs carry is subtle yet significant. Zsuzsanna is careful not to be preachy about telling people what to do. But she’s hopeful her photos can steer those who see them to think and act more sustainably.
“Maybe the next time they walk by a recycle bin, they will use it,” she said. “I don’t want to force anyone to do something. I want them to do it on their own. When you fall in love with something beautiful, you want to protect it more.”
Several of her images are on permanent display at Mabry Mill in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois and at Ginnie Springs in Florida.
Luciano Photography recently earned a Silver Medal at the Professional Photographers of America’s 2022 International Photographic Competition. Imaging USA, a convention and expo held Jan. 22-24 in Nashville for international photographers, will also feature Zsuzsanna’s work.
Her photograph, The Angel Oak created from 32 individual images, is one of 150 selections among 2,800 submissions that is pictured in Panobook 2015, a hardcover featuring the world’s leading panoramic photographs.
While you can view Zsuzsanna’s work online, for the full effect, visit Luciano Photography at the Rose Squared Shows at the spring and fall shows at Brookdale Park, Verona Park and Anderson Park in 2023.