Dobry Den Pratele...

Last week I visited the Josef Koudelka Exhibit at the National Gallery here in Prague...for the fifth time. It is clearly the largest retrospective display of this photographers work to date. Many of the prints that are displayed are original prints made for the original exhibits...some of them almost 40 years old. Images like the series from the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion, his early work with the Roma (Gypsies) in Slovakia, Romania, and Albania, and his theatre and stage work were all made with (What we would call) inferior Eastern European cameras and lenses, similarly inferior East German film, and printed on graded Czech and East German paper, also what we in the west would not consider quality materials. The images are no less powerful or of no less quality...

I made this last visit with my friend Zedenek (who printed the contemporary portion of the exhibit) and a group of talented Czech Photographers I hang out with...afterwards in the pub, I didnt here any disussion about the lack of tonal range, obtrusive grain, low D-Max, lack of shadow detail, what kind of paper, developer,Enlarging head was used etc. We discussed the images their impact...how we felt about the work. It just makes me think that, these days, there seems to be a certain preocupation amongst many of us with technological mumbo jumbo....Many of my Czech colleagues think we (Americans/Canadians etc) are obsessive compulsive techno-junkies and actually feel sorry for us rather than envy us. They think we spend so much time on websites, reading magazines and taking workshops that its a wonder we ever time to take photographs. Zdenek thinks all the monkying around we do, trying and BUYING every conceivable equipment combination and darkroom formula to make us into photographers is quite amusing . I'm not, and I'm sure he is not saying that we should'nt strive for excellence and new ways of working and achieving results that are pleasing, but after spending time on the net over the past month or so and reading and participating in quite a number of discussions, I have to somewhat agree with my esteemed colleague's opinions....especially that our beer sucks.


LD Horricks
Prague, Czech Republic