Amherst Magazine
Mardick Baliozian '50

I am sad to announce the passing of Mardick Baliozian on Sept. 22, 2009, in Paris, France. My father was born in Larchmont, N.Y., on July 1, 1925.

At the age of 17, my father enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he trained and worked as a photographer during the Pacific war. After the war, he enrolled at Amherst as part of the G.I. bill.

With over 400 students and a mix of G.I.s and “civilians,” my father’s graduating class included “160 odd ex-servicemen [who] carried out a somewhat monastic pursuit of scholarship in a radiator less James and Stearns Halls [. . .] while the Comptroller tried to calculate six men into a three-man room.” (1950 Olio).

He founded the APA (Amherst Photographer’s Association) and built the Pratt darkroom to supply photography for the campus publications. He was associate features editor of Touchstone magazine, joined the Olio team, was an active member of the flying club and co-founded the WAMF radio station where he was technical director for the first two years.

He graduated cum laude in fine arts and mathematics. His fine arts thesis on “Photography as an Artistic Medium” made the case that photography was more than a technical process. He went on to become one of Paris’ top fashion and still-life photographer from 1950 to 1957, with photos in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, House & Garden, ELLE, Nouveau Femina and Jours de France.

In 1954, he founded BALCAR, soon to be the world’s leading photographic lighting brand. His use of the umbrella as a photographic reflector is one of the many “standards” he established in his highly successful professional life. In the 1990’s, he spearheaded energy efficient fluorescent lighting for the TV market.

My father is survived by his wife Brenda, daughters Karen and Patricia, myself and seven grandchildren.

—Kevin Mardick Baliozian ’83

 

Comments

One of the very few who lived in Valentine Hall, Dick was best known for his photographic skills. His work often appeared in the short-lived college magazine[name escapes me]and featured the attractive young women who were dating Amherst men. He left no doubt about being a bon vivant which he continued to be even though it meant mving to Paris.

Mardick Baliozian, Class of 1950

July 1, 1925 – September 22, 2009

 I am sad to announce the passing of my father, Mardick Baliozian aka “Dick Balli”, on September 22, 2009 in Paris (France) at the age of 84. He was born in Larchmont, New York on July 1, 1925 and was a member of the Amherst College Class of 1950. My father was working in the Lawrenceville School library on a cold December afternoon, preparing for a debate on whether the USA should declare war on the Axis Powers. A classmate came in and said “you can stop researching: you’ve won your debate. The Japs attacked Pearl Harbor about two hours ago. The news is on the radio.” A year and a half later, at the age of seventeen, my father enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He attended several U. S. Naval Training Stations and schools in the USA, and a camera repair school at Barbers Point Naval Air Station in Hawaii (Oahu) near Honolulu. He then worked at the CINCPAC Joint Intelligence Photo Lab in Aiea, before departing on what was to be a long journey throughout the Pacific, working as a Navy photographer. In letters he wrote to his mother, my father spent over two years in the Pacific, describing his life aboard troop ships, on the Japanese islands of Palau and as a photographer in the U.S. Naval Air Force on Tinian Island. The letters, which were fortunately preserved along with numerous photos, provide a detailed depiction of every day life in the Navy. My father describes Navy training, the flights over Japan and other Jap held islands (“hops”), the long bouts of boredom, the local entertainment, the characters he befriended, and the Enola Gay which took off from the island he was stationed on to drop the first atomic bomb. There were no complaints about adversity, rather a constant reminder to his mother that he was safe and planning for his future after the war. Observations about food, photography and family abounded, all important foundations for his future life. Under the “G.I Bill of Rights Act” of 1944, my father was offered a free education at Amherst College. With over 400 students and a mix of G.I.’s and “civilians”, my father’s 1950’s graduating class included “160 odd ex-servicemen [who] carried out a somewhat monastic pursuit of scholarship in a radiatorless James and Stearns Halls […] While the Comptroller tried to calculate six men into a three-man room, and the general administration puzzled over the formula for twelve-hundred man attendance in the four-hundred-seat Chapel, the Class of 1950 went shambling along, variously striving for God, for Country, for the Navy or the Army of the Marines, for Piebald Prep or West Okra High, for the Veteran’s Administration, and for Amherst” (excerpt of 1950 Olio yearbook, Craig Pearson). While at Amherst, my father used his photographic experience to develop many student activities. He founded the APA (Amherst Photographer’s Association), presided over its first two years, and built the Pratt darkroom to supply photography for the various campus publications (later, while I attended Amherst, student funding allowed me to renovate the darkroom, an endeavor both highly practical and symbolic). He was Associate Features Editor of Touchstone magazine, worked as part of the Olio team, was an active member of the Flying Club, and co-founded the WAMF radio station where he was Technical Director for the first two years (WAMF was later renamed WAMH when those call letters became available). He majored in Fine Arts and Mathematics and graduated Cum Laude in 1950. His Fine Arts thesis on “Photography as an artistic medium” made the case that photography was more than a technical process. He clearly proved this point after graduation by becoming one of Paris’ top fashion and still-life photographer from 1950 to 1957, with photos appearing in VOGUE, Harpers’s Bazaar, House & Garden, as well as several French magazines (ELLE, Nouveau Femina, Jours de France, etc.). In 1954, he started manufacturing electronic flash equipment under the name Balcar, soon to become the world’s leading photographic lighting brand. His invention of using an umbrella as a photographic reflector is one of the many “standards” he established in his highly successful professional life. In the 1990’s, my father was a key innovator who introduced energy efficient fluorescent lighting to the professional TV studios. My father is survived by his wife Brenda, whom he married in 1956, my two sisters Karen and Patricia and seven grand-children. We will miss his incredible love of life, relentless determination, endless generosity and unbounded appreciation for exotic foods. You can read and contribute your comments on his life and download his unpublished book about his years as a Navy war photographer on  HYPERLINK "http://www.baliozian.com/dickballi" http://www.baliozian.com/dickballi.

 

Kevin Mardick Baliozian ‘83

 

 

 

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