“At weddings I love the radiation of love and tenderness.” Robert Vano Gallery

Graduated civil engineer Jana Kvaltínová found her inner fulfillment in more romantic field than her field of study is. Her profession and passion together is wedding photography. She loves wedding entertainment but she takes her work with absolute seriousness, responsibility and perfectionism. Janka`s aim is not only to capture the moment but mainly that inexplicable feature which two people brings to the altar.

It is a little unusual that civil engineer became a wedding photographer…

I got inspired by my sister who was devoted to photography and she helped me a lot in the beginnings. My photography began with the birth of my daughter and initially I just wanted to take a nice photo of baby. But it went a little faster. I did not expect I will ever take pictures of people and weddings. The first object I shot was my future sister in law. She is very pretty and photogenic woman so we started training together.

© Jana Kvaltínová

Do you communicate with the wedding guests? Are you invisible or do you try to manage things?

I think I’m more invisible but of course if it is necessary I have no problem to communicate or to express my ideas. I’m the type who loves weddings since childhood and I am having fun along with the guests. When they dance I dance with them. I like to talk with their friends and family.

How couples planning a wedding can find you?

They can find me mainly through recommendations of their friends, family or acquaintances. Personally I have never put any advertisement. My ad is my job.

© Jana Kvaltínová

Many couples are waiting for wedding photos for several months due to demanding post processing. To what extent do you edit your photos?

I’m a perfectionist and I cannot pass a raw image to someone who trusts me. Today everybody has thousands quickly taken images at home. Wedding is a special occasion and later along with the memories really only pictures remain. Therefore I focus a lot to process them all and it takes me a month or two. When they see couple of photos processed at the beginning they rather wait because they know it is worth it.

Do you recognize the competition? At what level do you think the wedding photography in Slovakia is?

We have a very nice production but there are photographers who lower the level whether for price or quality. I do not understand how someone can deliver the photo to the client the next day without any adjustment. I am always surprised that there are people who are even willing to pay.

© Jana Kvaltínová

Is photo shooting besides a hobby also a commercial matter for you?

I like showing people that they are beautiful. I want to make them happy and I enjoy when the picture gives them something. Places, light and props, everything I use is linked with romance and joy.

© Jana Kvaltínová

Interview by Romana Juhásová / Robert Vano Gallery


“I think the historical techniques have to be liked.”

Renata Vogl started with photography in 2009 and as of today she has had several exhibitions and was awarded on several international competitions. She uses wet collodion process – ferrotype to transfer female nude and landscape themes on metal sheets. She has fallen for one of the oldest photographic techniques despite its considerable difficulty, occasional headaches, brown fingers and several smaller fires.

Could you please introduce us to your art technique?

Wet collodion process is one of the oldest photographic techniques. The process is called „wet“ because the sensitive layer of collodion is poured on the plate that has to be wet. Only one original of the photography can be created via this process. I use ferrotype technique which is done on the aluminum plate but I do not deal with ambrotype where the glass is used. However, the procedure is similar. The first step includes cleaning and polishing the plate to remove the grease and dirt. Then collodion is applied and is poured on the entire surface by dangling in minimum inversion angles. Afterwards, in the darkroom, plate is placed into sensitized silver nitrate solution, where its stays for several minutes so a new sensitive layer is created. Then the plate has to be added to a specially designed cartridge film, which is put into the camera and then exposed. This should be set in advance, since exposure varies in time from five seconds to several minutes.

© Renata Vogl

Through the history, this technique was used by shooting still life, which is static or in portraits while models were fixed in a certain way, for example, their head was supported so they were able to sit still for two minutes. Picture is then developed in the darkroom by pouring the developer on the sheet. If the result does not correspond to my initial idea, the image can be easily washed off with a cloth or sponge and plate reused. If the image dries, it is not possible to wash it off. The last step includes fixing and varnishing. Metal sheet is heated up by a flame and then a paint lavender oil and juniper resin is applied. This is a very nice step, because everything is lovely lavender scented. Even some people who have particularly developed their olfactory cells can recognize the smell even later, when they smell to the finished picture. Varnish is dried again and you have to be careful due to the fact that it is flammable. Several times it happened that I had to put out the fire with everything what was at hand and I had to throw down and started to jump on almost finished ferrotype so I extinguished the flames – for my colleagues, it was sometimes very funny to watch. Of course, that in this way, I destroyed ferrotype, so even at the last final step there is a possibility it can go wrong. But there is no need to give up and thus you can work on your patience. But otherwise it is a nice step, which completes the whole process during an original and unique picture is created.

Is it expensive?

It’s obviously more costly, chemicals are not cheap and the most expensive solution is nitrate. But there are various online stores where you can purchase preferably available packages.

Does it happen that the photograph is not well developed and it does not work at all?

Very often. When I firstly heard about this process I thought, that is very complex and has many pitfalls. Everything is, however, about the feeling and practice. The more ambrotypes or ferrotypes man does the more he knows what and how, at what temperature, for how long, from where to pour or how to hold the plate. The procedure can be found also on the internet, but one will discover all these “nifty nuances„ after it goes wrong for twenty times and I try it again. Patience is essential.

© Renata Vogl

Why amongst all historical techniques did you choose ferrotype, which is particularly challenging?

With ferrotype I met by chance at the private workshop of photographer Rasťo Čambál, who was at the time very excited. As a beginner it seemed to me very complicated and difficult and I did not understand it. Once again I met ferrotype during my internship at Vladimír Židlický so I began to work more with it and I have become quite thrilled. I think a man, who has any visual perception is charmed very easily with collodion. I think the historical techniques have to be liked. Pictorial form is unique and magical. But it is important not to have any barrier of working with chemicals, as they are flammable and for example nitrate is dangerous, it must not to get into the eyes as this may damage them. You must be really cautious. Interesting and common character of all collodionists is brown fingers. Nitrate, after a few minutes, turns brown and you cannot wash it from your hands. It is typical that brown coloration is gone just after a few weeks. For ordinary people, it might look very strange. In the summer, when I work in shorts or a skirt it is not an exception that my legs are also brown.

What interesting things, except brown fingers, did happen to you at work?

There were days when I failed and had to repeat the process for several times. When I left the workroom I was surprised by the amount of fresh air. There are various vapors, there is ethanol and ether so mild headache from lack of oxygen have occurred several times.

Does photographer need to be also a chemist?

I would not certainly identify myself as a chemist but if someone works with chemicals he should know how to handle them and certainly be aware of how to store them properly and keep them in order.

© Renata Vogl

What do you think, how do your pictures that combine originality of form and content impress the viewer?

Responses are different, depending on who is viewing them. I was recently on the event in Banská Bystrica called “Days of originality”, where I exhibited my ferrotypes and it was quite interesting to see people’s reactions. I’ve never been so immediately confronted with a general audience. The exhibition was held in the shopping center, where you meet different people, from those who are not interested in photography to the professional artists. It has been seen that the “mere mortal“ barely looked at ferrotypes but visitors with some relationship to the arts were thrilled that they could see results of such technique. Many viewers will not understand them at all, others are keen. So it is okay in this way.

© Renata Vogl

More photos at www.artofphotography.eu

Interview by Romana Juhásová / Robert Vano Gallery


“I’m not an artist, but a big child.” 

Robert Vano Gallery
Ondřej Janů firstly sniffed to photography from the opposite side, as a model. But when he made out his first ambrotype, he knew he found what he was looking for. He finds inspiration in modern art and refuses to be labeled as artist.

How would you characterize yourself as a photographer?

I am trying to use each photography media from medium format through digital photo to wet colloid process. I would probably rank myself among fashion photographers, I move in this direction, while this can be hardly recognized in my free creation.

Why a fashion photography?

I have worked and still today occasionally snap on the opposite side of the camera as a model. During this work, I had the opportunity to witness a profession of photographer, sniffed to this work and realized that I would like to work and would like to live like that. Since I had no camera and no funds for a long time I was just waiting and waiting until one day I said it can`t be like this any longer. I dug out an old camera inherited by my grandfather and slowly began to experiment.

© Ondřej Janů

Your heart matter and medium of expression is wet colloid process.

I was impressed by creation of photographer Sarah Moon on large-format Polaroid. I liked the atmosphere and the imperfection of these photos, so I was looking into how to get closer with this form. I passed through various workshops, I tried platinotype, oil print and gum print. All of them were nice but it was not exactly what I wanted. Luckily, these workshops are attended by people who are interested in different historical techniques so I met one of them Zdeněk Řivnáč who referred me to Vašek Smolik who is dealing with ambrotypes. Mr. Smolik tortured me a bit; he gave me various tasks that I had to fulfill to introduce me to the mystery of this technique. When I did the first picture I was clear that this is a medium that I was looking for. I did not need to seek for it anymore.

Apparently you do not consider yourself as an artist. Why?

I use to say that I am not an artist, but a big child. With my creation I am totally free and I do not address any major philosophical questions. I rather play and use what medium offers. I am trying to go my own way and not to look left, right; I want to be free in what I do.

© Ondřej Janů

You take photos also for an order. What is the difference between your commercial and free creation?

Yes, I try to. I shoot reportage, fashion photography, tests for models. In the wet process, it is best that nobody can affect it. Hardly someone knows the process and because it is so challenging, people let me do my stuff. Within the contract of course I have to fulfill assignments, which is sometimes confining, but sometimes I create such things to my portfolio which I would not expect. Often shooting campaigns leads in a great evening with good results.

Did you take a part on exhibitions?

I attended several small exhibitions in Prague, individual and common and I also had an exhibition in Budapest, where I presented creations with a specific intervention whether by engraving, adding color or collage.

What is for you the inspiration to creation?

I take inspiration from the modern art. For example I go to the National Gallery to see lectures of modern art where I feel some inspiration from the various artistic styles. Then I try to get this idea into photography, capture basics of each painter. Modern art is thus probably my strongest inspiration and essence of my work. Plus of course, music and movies. For example last time I was listening to Nirvana and with a headset on my head I was trying to express emotions of the music by scrapping into the plate.

© Ondřej Janů

What are you currently working on?

I create spontaneously and from one day to another I get an idea and so I go to portray it. For example, recently I have been with my girlfriend to the movie at the cinema called nympho and from that time I have got an idea in my head about one work to do.

What is your the biggest success so far?

Achievements. I am not a person who would deal with this entirely. For me the success means that I can live from photography and this is the most beautiful thing which can be. Exhibitions are of course fine, but it is always a temporary affair. The exhibition begins and ends and then a man cannot even remember it. I was, for example, nominated for Czech Grand Design, which is certainly a success. But as I said the priority is somewhere else.

© Ondřej Janů

Interview by Romana Juhásová / Robert Vano Gallery


“Women today are like cartoons on my photos they are real.”  Robert Vano Gallery

Tereza z Davle is known contemporary Czech photographer but she is not tempted by modern trends of portrait photography. Through nudes and portraits she materializes her vision of femininity which is based on the nature calmly and imperfections which does not exclude the beauty.

You are using the artistic name of Teresa z Davle. How did it come from?

Incidentally it was introduced by my friend the owner of cafes and gallery at the same time. When I bought the camera he very encouraged me. He had organized my exhibition but during the installation he could not remember my second name so he simply wrote Teresa z Davle according to the town where I lived.

You have not studied photography and you are self-taught. Was it about “trial and error” or did you even have some “teachers”?

I consulted with my friends – photographers, painters, artists. Since I had never anticipated that I might do photography for a living it was just fun for me. I portrayed my friends who voluntarily offered themselves so basically I got into it because of them. I did not expect any great results. Perhaps due to the fact that I photographed with love and I really enjoyed it I have finally managed and I do it for a living today.

© Tereza z Davle

What kind of development have you passed since 1993 when you started taking pictures?

In the beginning I struggled with a lack of finances so I saved money whenever possible. I used to buy paper and films of warranty and to borrow darkroom. I also used to take a bus or tram to meet the girls and I carried a big bag of props. But since I was young and full of enthusiasm it was nice. Now I already have got a car and everything I need. Technology has evolved as well and I`ve started taking pictures with digital but not for exhibitions only for commercial work.

Why are you attracted by classic techniques – black and white photograph, hand-developed enlargements and minimal adjustments?

I do not like perfect sterile things. For example I like old black and white movies where there can be seen “dithering” and traces break. I do not mind at all if the photos are not sharp and technically perfect. I do not need it at my work. Modern technology is not my strong skill. It is unstoppable moving forward but I stay at the same point.

© Tereza z Davle

What is the difference between working with the model from the “street” and professional model and celebrity? Who do you shoot the most like and why?

I prefer “non-models” because I can shape them. They are not twisted by relationships with other photographers and they do not have learned poses. They are natural and this is also my vision of femininity.

Can be every pictured woman beautiful or interesting without radical intervention of graphic editor?

Absolutely yes. In the past digital editing did not exist and the women were beautiful on the photographs and images. Now it’s the opposite the women are like cartoons. Due to digital image editing you do not even know what is true and what a lie is. But when someone comes to my photo exhibition where are pictures magnified by hand from negatives you can be absolutely sure that every woman looks in reality exactly as it is captured in the photo.

Allegedly you had been surrounded by photographic glamor from childhood. What was the impact on your work?

In my view an essential because my grandfather was a portrait photographer at Barrandov and my grandfather was a painter. I was brought up between images and photographs and I always drew and painted. Therefore shooting was absolutely natural. My grandfather had died two years before I started with it so that the family tradition persists but he sees it from above.

© Tereza z Davle
To what extent are you influenced by other external impacts – other photographers, world trends, opinions, critics etc.?

Many people think they are not influenced by anything but we all are unconsciously influenced whether we like it or not. I like Helmut Newton and Brassai as well as many other photographers such as Sarah Moon or Antonin Kratochvil.

The key moment in your career happened when you lost almost all your work and your studio was robbed. How did you stand again on your feet?
I dealt with whether I will or will not take pictures and after a few months I started to miss the photography. I borrowed money on the camera and started again. It was still inside me and I got back to it.

What are you working on currently?

I am currently finishing a cycle focused on girls from Cesky Krumlov. In addition to lovely ladies there are many picturesque locations. And I continue waiting for the muse. In the past I have had more of them. The most influential lasted for ten years but now she unfortunately doesn`t shoot. I still hope the right muse will come.

© Tereza z Davle

Interview by Romana Juhásová / Robert Vano Gallery