Had she been born at any other time in history, Lucille Khornak might have become a sought-after portrait painter famed for character-revealing studies capturing a sitter's temperament and spirit. Today, this portrait specialist explores her subjects with a camera lens in color or black and white.
Khornak's work includes individual portraits, but many of her clients prefer that she record the essence and unique personalities of their families, often on a yearly basis. Khornak is particularly fond of photographing their infants and children their spontaneity, smiles, even self-possession, always find a way into her pictures. She adds, "My images are vulnerable, with depth and energy, and often have a touch of whimsy." Khornak will design and create hardcover books of those images that become volumes of family history and heritage. "In the end, what we have are memories and photographs, such as those that personalize the hall between two second-floor bedrooms.
Khornak first went to Hollywood from Buffalo, NY, to become an actress. By the early 1980's, she was back in New York City modeling for commercial clients. Intrigued by the photographic process, she moved behind the lens. "Photography was a natural progression for me. It was the discover of new visuals and transforming them into reality that fascinated and still does."
At first, she photographed friends for their own modeling portfolios. "Knowing what it was like to be on both sides of the camera made it easy to get my subjects to relax." Commercial clients soon followed: her list starts with Alfa Romeo and Cheerios, pauses midway to include Johnson & Johnson and MasterCard, and ends with names like Volvo and Yves St. Lauret. Famous "A-list" faces Khornak has photographed include President Bill Clinton, Genna Davis, and Andy Warhol.
Khornak often travels to clients in London, Paris, Beverly Hills, Palm Beach, Dubai, and the Hamptons, where she spends her summers photographing on the beach. She has also taught and lectured at the International Center for Photography in New York, the Palm Beach Photographic Workshop, and Woodstock Photography Center.