“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


© Andrej PalackoPhotographer Andrej Palacko has been devoted to reportage and artistic documentary photography for 30 years. During his professional photographic career took thousands of pictures from cultural, artistic and political life of many countries in the world. He worked as a professional photographer not only in Slovakia, but also in Germany. Recently, he is being more interested in Cuba. His reportage and artistic perception of the world which can be seen on his images, is based mainly on the inner sensitivity, in terms of detail and recognizing the uniqueness of the particular moment. Andrej Palacko is not a man of sloth; his work is an expression of feeling for the visual perception of the world and man in it. He has that gift to mediate his perception to others mainly due to genes inherited by his parents. When the gift meets diligence, taste and need of sharing work with others it can results in a great thing. Andrej is opened to new challenges and specific needs of the media, agencies or individual wishes. He has hundreds of published reports, photographs, and images previously unpublished in his archive. He has captured many personalities from the cultural, artistic, sporting and political life (Fidel Castro, Joe Cocker, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and others).

What were your beginnings in photography like?

I`ve started with photography because of my parents. Mainly thanks to my father, who participated as an advisor in production of the military movies and I often went with him to see how these motions are done. Thus, he directed me to pictures making. It was in the house of pioneers (now the Presidential Palace) where I firstly learned how to make pictures.

Did you study photography?

I graduated high school. School, high or the university, gives you only theoretical knowledge, but the life will make you a photographer.

What do you still enjoy in this field?

I have been already in for thirty years. I still like to capture historic moments that will never come back and which will serve to the future generations for decades to make them aware who we were and what life did we live here. What bothers me is bad social situation of people, especially of young generation. I’m trying to point out this problem, that the world does not have the right direction.
I’m shooting everything, but I am particularly interested in backstage theater and opera, street and its atmosphere. I always try to seek for beautiful things and nice personalities in the country I visit. I am trying to emphasize good things. And it`s the exact opposite in Slovakia. It’s my home country and therefore I try to point out problems.

Until recently you have been using analog camera. Why?

Last year I was in Cuba for the sixth time and for the first time I took DSLR. I bought Nikon D4. I have been shooting for over 25 years mainly with Nikons. In last years mainly with Nikon F3 and I have a lot of accessories. Why do I shoot on film? Film materials last and can be archived from 100 to 200 years. Last time I took pictures in Cuba with digital camera and then I stored them on my HDD. In the last year four HDDs just crashed and if I had not had several photos archived the historical materials would have been permanently lost. This time is so synthetic. Materials that are placed on Google, Facebook, etc. are not sufficiently safe. There can be some conflict and radiation will erase everything. More and more photographers are coming back to analogoue.

© Andrej Palacko

Which celebrity you took pictures of is the most interesting one? The most likeable?

From Slovakian ones, certainly it was Peter Dvorsky. I was his home photographer. I can say that Dvorsky are gorgeous, wonderful and nice people. I actually took pictures of him everywhere, in the National Theatre, in opening of his club in Bratislava where I exhibited about 120 photos in the foyer. People after concert were walking by and all photos were taken. Then they came to Peter Dvorsky and to me and asked for our signature. I have beautiful images of Eugen Suchoň (Slovak classic music composer). Now is the 15th anniversary of the death of Eugene Suchoň and I must say I am disappointed with the approach of the Ministry of Culture. I have decided that I will not provide any pictures of our celebrity to Ministry of Culture.
From foreign ones, it was mostly Les McCann – jazz pianist, really nice person. Another one is Cras Mambri, who was in the sixties the world figure in Opera. I photographed her with Peter and Miroslav Dvorsky in Vienna. I met her when I was shooting the world`s greatest opera scene Aida. There were 1200 performers, elephants, camels and giraffes. Cras Mambri was very nice. At each meeting we hugged.

How it was with your departure to Germany?

I left two months before the revolution. Of course, my beginnings were in the kitchen where I was washing dishes. I went to language school year and in the evening I was working in the Italian restaurant. I learned to cook many interesting dishes there. I also tried to work at the bar. It was the school of life. Today’s young people are missing this. The lack of experiences.
Bratislava is totally plundered and chain stores destroyed its tradition. Tradition of cafeterias, wine bars and historic city that were here from Maria Theresa is totally destroyed. Bratislava is dead. Young should focus on traditions and return to nature. I prefer to go with my family to the countryside then to live in Bratislava. Bratislava has become a cesspool. If I compare it with Cuba there are no terrorists, criminals or mafia. Therefore, I am saying that it is an island of the planet. Of course there are problems, especially poverty, but the people have wealthy spirit there. Cuba belongs to the Cubans and Slovaks have nothing.

Let`s talk about Germany. What is the difference in work comparing to Slovakia?

The work is correct there, interpersonal relationships are correct, people are tolerant and especially the Germans are very industrious.

© Andrej Palacko

Why do you shoot in B&W? Do you develop them by your own?

All B & W photos I have developed at home. It was a bit difficult and not always easy. Vintage photo has its grain, its atmosphere. Today’s photography is very synthetic. Today, you can make a nice picture from the ugly one and skinny babe from the fat girl. This is not photography anymore.

Do you edit your pictures?

No, I have even never cut my pictures. The compositions on my photos are the same as on negatives. I also like to shoot details. My favorite lenses are 20 and 180mm. 20 mm lens for documentary and 180 mm for concerts and other details. By using 20 mm lens you have to go very close as I did when I was taking pictures of my dead friend Hugo Chavez.

What about the person photographed, does he/she accept you?

Mostly yes. In some cases no, but just in a few. I was shooting Fidel Castro on the tribune where not anyone has an access. It was a month before he was hospitalized, so I have got historical images. I was right behind Fidel Castro. Journalists are mostly downstairs but I was up.
I have one story with Gerard Depardieu. It was during a military parade. Depardieu came to tribune in a tracksuit. I had my lenses on earth together with my cigarettes. He said, “capitalism, Marlboro”, and I said, “Ich bin kein kapitalist, du bist kapitalist, du … Kohiba”. Kohiba is more expensive brand than Marlboro. And then he asked for money, so I threw him one peso. He is a big fan of Fidel Castro.

Recently you have received an award for a short documentary movie…

I prepared a documentary about the legend of world box Teofilo Stevenson. I was photographing and making a movie directly at his home. This document received an award at 30th International Documentary Film Festival in Milan. I did it on 3rd of June and couple days after Teofilo passed away. No one has such images. For instance Teofilo is dancing on some of them.

© Andrej Palacko

You shoot challenging projects, how do you finance them?

I have invested lot of money for shooting in Cuba. Now I plan to go to Venezuela, to document the construction of power plants. In addition, I will capture life in Venezuela and then I will make a huge exhibition in Caracas. I also plan to document the Dominican Republic.

In the past you took pictures of the gypsies’ community in Slovakia. Can you compare it somehow?

I have one such project now. I will go with a TV crew to do a documentary.25 years ago I worked as a photojournalist in Moro-revue. Once I went on a business trip to Humenne. Along the way I saw a gypsy settlement – Podskalka. Nice and beautiful. So I photographed and documented it. A colleague was closed in the car, he was afraid. I got quite close to them. After one month I returned to the village and brought 100 photos with me. All of them I gave away. Some of them they liked and some they destroyed. I would like to re-visit these villages. I would buy 5-6 cameras and I’ll teach the kids to take pictures. Then I will show photos from 25 years ago and their parents will find people in the photos. I want to awaken people to know the Gypsies, their culture, crafts and their soul.

© Andrej Palacko

Do you follow other photographers?

I have to admit that I have never checked other photographers and I have never criticized anyone. I did not have time for it. However, I have many good friends, photographers. But everyone has his job and nobody is arguing with anybody.

Do you train young generation?

If there was an interest from colleges, I would do lectures. I have a lot of experience that I would like to give to youth, not only about photography but also about life.

Did you shoot picture of your life or are you still waiting on it?

I want to photograph Fidel Castro with Mick Jagger together. My dream is to do an exhibition in London where I will present my idea to organize a concert of Rolling Stones in Cuba. It would be a concert of the century.

© Andrej Palacko

© Andrej Palacko


“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


PortretIn many articles and for several times I came across the name Peto Ondrejkovic, mainly in interviews with young photographers. A lot of them said he is their photographic idol. It started up my curiosity. Who`s that mysterious photographer I know nothing about him? So I started browsing on net. And surprisingly nothing showed up. The only thing I was able to find was his official website, full of many beautiful photographs, but no interview, no picture of him and no history.
Our editorial board decided to ask him for an interview. We obtained no CV, but we can proudly offer you a very interesting reading together with great pictures.

What photography means to you and how did you get into?

Photography is for me a phenomenon which I try to understand. And how did I get involved? I don`t remember that. Probably as everyone else. My father captured me with a naked butt on some blanket and after he was proudly showing it to me. I suppose it happened like that.

What is your opinion on today`s photography, or let’s say the art scene? Do you watch the production of other artists?

I don`t understand today`s modern or fashion photography and let’s be honest I don`t want to.
Czechoslovakia was a big photographic power. We had big names and things to adore. There were many skilled photographers and even unrecognized authors did great photos. But recently, nobody is looking for inspiration here. Maybe when somebody wants to learn how to crap it up… We are very good in that.
These days are more complicated not because we are behind the times. Everybody shoots today and that`s not bad. We have learned to use internet space and it gives us the false confidence, power or uniqueness. We are overpowered by the amount of galleries, where almost all pictures from the memory card are spilled out. Many people are losing their common sense and a big problem rises up. In that crap you are almost not able to find something valuable, what is good and is worth for stopping by, or even for admiration.
But despite the facts above, I enjoy having a look at the portfolios of today`s authors as it is also didactic, if I don`t like it.
In general, I prefer Russian artists to whom I have closer relationship and understanding. I like their ability of (just at a first look) rude, straight and chaotic expression which is full of subjective reactions, moods and thoughts. They are able to transform it into arbitrary form or shape and that is what fascinates me. Maybe just because they disproved the fact, that the basic form of lyrical manifestation is the verse.

© Peťo Ondrejkovič
Are you able to live just from photography?

Ufff! If you are asking if I can live just from that, the answer is no. I have to help myself with graphic and design.
But if it is a general question, under some conditions, yes. The lack of self-respect, respect to others and their works are the fundamental prerequisites of being successful in photography here. What else can you expect in this time and society, where everything is rotten, built on payoffs, good connections and machinations? I don`t see the reason why it should be different in photography. Who buys off… enjoys.
But it is general question and the answer is also so sketchy. There is a group of photographers who experienced it but many of them from several reasons are not able to catch today`s trend. Not only old geriatrics but many of them are different smart asses who caught the right moment but that times are gone, they have lost their connections, there is no work anymore, they did not fit to extra doors or under the table. So they are caught in this marasmus sitting in pubs with slobbery faces in eternal alcoholic rush. They are sending whole system to the hell beating the table with their fists and calling themselves artists. They are still alive, clinically.
The muscle from the question is what we imagine and how we define the measure and time based on which we consider after if we lived good or just survived.
Last but not least is the question, how artist manage the role of PR manager and businessman in one time. Finally, I think this is even more important to become self-reliant. But again we are dealing with self-respect.
Despite that, these “photographers” are the most famous one and enjoys the big popularity. They have become synonym of the great and successful photographers of today.

What do you think about the opinion that almost everybody is the “professional photographer”?

It depends on point of view. I have never thought about it. But I can see three points of view. Photography, photographers and clients who just see it through the prism of price.
For the photography itself it`s not important. There isn`t bad influence maybe even vice versa because it gives more place for talented photographers who can show up. For the history of photography is not important how many pictures are forgotten. The most important are only those which remain. Many of them are nameless.
But I think that from the photographer’s point of view, it plays a big role. At first, that sentence “Today almost everybody is a professional photographer” is used mainly in the photographic society and represents the fear of power and amount of possible competition. Along that, the connection “almost everybody” probably should imply the inflow of self-called professional photographers.
Let’s be honest. That moment, when some Joseph who yesterday dug the sewer or played football in 12th league and today is a professional photographer and a stiff competition for us, this is the right time to sit down, evaluate the situation and our possibilities. Simply go somewhere else. To keep that thinking is not sick, it`s already death.
The reality is, there exists a strong fear of new graduates and not a fear from self-taught photographers. But that`s our attitude. We always have to point to the wrong direction and not to ourselves. We rather change the discussion to something else, something uncertain than to risk a confrontation. And we sleep well.
There are many schools and universities which produce great number of graduates. Thanks to the popularity of photography, the amount of graduates is high comparing to the size of our country. Theoretically, it should be a great asset. I had an opportunity to discuss this topic with many of them but I was surprised, that they were taught more how to survive than how to shoot. But I have to say, it`s rational.
This is of course the reason of antipathy, fear and subsuming into that packet mentioned above -“almost everybody”. We lack their youth, wildness and knowledge. I understand the point of view of others, but I strictly disagree. I want to believe, that thanks to them the world of photography will return again to the regular direction.
But I am still surprised, how many lessons they devote to history, techniques etc. and nobody told them about trivial thing i.e. that “Sun is the only object with no contour.” I was persuaded by one graduate of our famous institution of art about the fact, that they have never tried the basic exercises with shapes like die, cone or sphere. I do not think about the harmonization of picture concerning the shapes or tonal lines, I mean the light, which is the key. I do not know better way of understanding how light affects the composition of the image. And again the basic thing “Where there is light there is shadow”. You could think of banalities, but these things are really important if you want to make a good composition.
Despite my thoughts above, I think education is the only way how good photography can survive. These graduates are real professional photographers, so the statement “almost everybody” lacks sense for me. I truly believe and hope that they will guarantee the core and heart of photography.
Photography has arisen to be one of the fine art techniques. Almost for two centuries it wasn`t so it has found itself in the world of commerce. It would be loss if it died, especially now, when it is accepted fine art technique. But I have to confess that the increasing of self-named photographers is great and it can lead to devaluation of the monetary value, because they are usually willing to work for less money. I think this the reason why others photographers criticize them.
All in all I agree. Do we really want each client at any cost? Sometimes I feel like that light is the only thing which is not corrupted in the world of photography
From my own experience I can say if some client ask just for the price (the best price in their meaning is for free) I rather give up because in many cases it`s just another pratfall. I rather pass this honor to other nippers. I wish them good luck from the deep of my heart. If somebody shoots whole wedding day and sign a contract which force him to deliver 1000 – 1500 pictures for 200 – 300 EUR, he is an idiot. I know it` an expression for medical diagnose but I meant it as dirty word.

© Peťo Ondrejkovič
Along commercial shooting you have a free creation. Do you like it as relax after work? Do you enjoy it?

Commercial photography pays my bills. I can`t say, I don`t like it, because there are many orders which are connected to fine art. In the past, my pictures (free creation) were parody of human stupidity and I enjoyed it very much. I could find inspiration anywhere, just by looking or hearing. Later on, I somehow lost that compulsion. Sometimes I feel it and I make a picture, but today it is more about searching for… Way of life? A truth? Always for something. But what you can find at my website is just an illustration of possible. Actually my portfolio on my website can be considered as a free creation, because I have never published a client’s photo.

There are several photography techniques at your website. Can you tell us a little more about them? I.e. what is “hand printing”?

There are several techniques of hand printing. Mainly it is graphics and not photography but the photography can also be a source of it. The result is a graphical sheet. It`s really not complicated it`s like lithography. It allows printing from the form, which can be made from any material. I make a sheet by Arabic gum and bichromates and cover it by oil color. Afterwards the picture is printed on paper and the rest depends on brush.

Others techniques, which are presented on my website, are cyanotype, oil printing and argentotype. I`ve got a feeling there are also gum prints and brome-oil but I have to say I am very lazy in updating my website, so I really don`t know is there. But I put a big importance to quality of selected materials and printer.

© Peťo Ondrejkovič
Which printing technique is your favorite one?

I like cyanotype and argentotype. Everybody underestimates these simple techniques, but they deserve bigger attention and respect. I like them because of their simplicity. I am lazy. Sometimes I use more complicated ones (oil print, brome-oil, gum print) but I need a serious reason. Almost whole last year production is made by oil print. I still have some samples but I can`t look at it again as I am still pissed of how are they wavy. If they didn`t have such character this technique would be my favorite one, because the process itself is a real delicacy.

When did you shoot naked woman for the first time ? Do you remember it?

If my memory doesn’t trick me… So it has tricked me….
I do not understand why there is such importance attached to “naked woman”. Although, it does have meaning it is quite different from that which is connected to it. I don’t remember when it was, or who she was, or where it was, so we cannot talk about some memories.

Women are very critical to their body. What do they most dislike on photos?

This is not a custom. Certainly I would not throw them all into one group, but I understand where your question is pointing.
The answer is – if so, women itself ;-). Photography has many attributes. It got them along its existence and probably each of us can find something unique inside it. One of them is, “the picture – is the cutest lie.” A picture with this attribute is the one which generally attracts women and girls. The role of the photographer is to fill these ideas and move them into a reality, in which they are happy and do not act like a smart ass. Everybody can think what he/she wants. Photographic image has always been manipulated and the truth is that the model was not aware of it. A clever photographer distorted this truth in a very decent way and somehow more plausible.
But seriously, this is not the norm – thanks God. They are women, knowing their quality and shortcomings, who are confident enough to forbid photographer to do any manipulation because the picture wouldn`t show reality at all. There are not many of them, but thanks God they exist.

There are also those who do not hesitate to rape the reality, but it must be in at least imaginable limits – lift the breasts, narrow hips, reduce butt, etc., at least in part, but preferably in a believable rate to improve the image to some imaginary vision of the ideal beauty.
And finally there are those who are easier to paint than to take pictures. Their dissatisfaction claims and the vision of photo they want, all it comes from the knowledge that the current style of image manipulation is boundless and unlimited. Their desire for some sort of abstract perfection and beauty overshadow common sense or judgment and they do not hesitate to take a picture on which is some ethereal and imaginary being, without the basic shape of photographing subject.
But there is the opposite extreme, a lack of self-criticism, self-importance and cataract whenever a near mirror occurs. But this is probably the most common issue of mothers and daddies.

What importance do you put to the composition of photo or picture?

Composition is a basic thing for me. Personally I consider it as a key and the only thing which I want to handle it as close to perfection as it gets and to create a perfect picture. I see a real art in this – the knowledge and ability to transform every theme or just the only topic into the ideal composition. It’s simplified, but probably the best and reasonable comparison which I am able to think up.

Which shooting was the greatest experience for you?

Shooting porn as a stand for a friend. Every time I remember on it, I feel sick.

Have you published or do you want to publish any book?

No! And I can say that never will, for sure. For more than one year we were preparing one book and when I finally read it viewed and thought about the content and meaning, I have come to the conclusion that is not the way…
Sometimes even I have problem to follow my own ideas, to become familiar with them and to understand them and to want the same thing also from others and ask money for, that`s sick.

© Peťo Ondrejkovič

What technique do you use?

Analog versus digital? If you mean photographic technique I don`t care which one I use, the problem occurs afterwards in image processing. As I am so lazy, messy and comfy I prefer digital. The major advantage lies in the fact, that whenever it is possible to take a step back without any damage. So the maximal damage is a waste of time.
In fact, in all my mess, few times it happened that I lost my rolls, inserted roll into the tank and poured fixer instead of developer, even I managed to pour a bleach, which for some unexplained reason, was in the same container in which I safely knew that there was developer prepared.; -) and so on.

You are an icon for many young photographers. How do you feel about it?

I feel surprised ;-)

Is there something you would like to pass to our readers?

Good light…

© Peťo Ondrejkovič


portretJakub Gulyás (1980) is a young photographer from Bratislava whose photos can be seen on covers of magazines like Inspire, Emma, La Femme or Eva. He proofs that the world fashion classy photography can be found also in Slovakia. Jakub originally studied restoration but finally settled down at the photography. In the beginning of his career as a photographer he collaborated with fashion designer Lenka Sršňová and captured her colorful world. His eye-catching approach in fashion photography did not stay unnoticed and many offers from fashion magazines came in after. Jakub Gulyás graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava (atelier of restoration under the guidance of prof. Boris Kvasnica). He completed courses in photographic studio of prof. Ján Krížik and one semester in photo atelier of Silvia Saparová ArtD where he was focused on documentary photography about Bratislava`s transvestites and women in their intimate environment. Jakub was finalist of PHOTO 2009 competition organized by the VUB Foundation and this year he received honorable mention in the Slovak Press Photo competition for his series “Remembering the Future”. He also paints creative pictures, which are based on his photographic work.

Why did you after so many years of study of restoration finally decide to be a photographer?

I’m a creative minded person and I wanted to create something by myself. I did not want to be only a gray eminence that preserves the work of other artist. Restoration has been a great school which taught me humility, self-discipline, historical techniques, painting practices in terms of colors culture, drawings and composition. All of these experiences have helped me later in photography so I do not consider that all those years are lost but the opposite.
Why fashion photography? What do you enjoy the most?

Fashion photography has always attracted me and I like its approach. I have a relationship to beauty and aesthetics and to fashion itself. Since childhood I had been listing pictures in foreign fashion magazines. Later I searched for a specific author of photographs and publications, but at that time I still could not imagine my future as a fashion photographer.

You were able to succeed in today`s overpressure of fashion photos. Where do you get inspiration and new ideas from?

I think the word “succeed” is at the moment too strong. We can say that in a few years maybe. In this digital age of Photoshop and in combination with the Internet people can develop their skills very quickly. However, I`ve got a feeling that the topic and the general character of photographs are becoming very similar. It is very difficult to create something new because everything has already been invented. I do not try to discover something new and original. I enjoy bringing the emotion and atmosphere into my pictures. I am inspired by the specific environment in which I am currently creating. I try to adapt to each theme given by author of fashion collections, but mostly they set me free. I do not have a specific plan when shooting and ideas often come right on the shooting location. Improvisation is sometimes more effective than working strictly according to “scenario”.

You’re well-known as a fashion photographer. Do you do also photography of a different type in your leisure time?

I have got not much time for my free creation currently, but I try to archive my material and then sort it out into a series of common themes and concepts. I would like to be more devoted to painting, because working with a digital camera, frequent squeezing of trigger and computer post-production is sometimes monotonous and impersonal to me. Sometimes I need a change and do something with my own hands.

Jakub Gulyás

Do you shoot more in studio or outdoors?

I love taking photos in different environments as it provides the necessary atmosphere. Studio limits me and I hate working with artificial lighting. I like natural daylight.
Do you shoot with professional models or are you also seeking the girls “from the street”?

I work mostly with models of the agencies and I do not have the courage to ask people on the street. It raises some mistrust. I would feel weird :).

How is the cooperation with Slovak models?

Slovak girls are great :).

How do you manage and create the right mood when shooting?

I try to figure out the essence of each person who is in front of my camera. At the moment, that person is becoming my muse. I am fascinated by people’s faces, their charisma; I look for another beauty than typical. In general, I’m charmed by mature women who refuse to get old and cover it with manners and extravagance. Joan Collins, Grace Jones, Amanda Lear, Dalida, these are the types of women that inspires me.


What precedes the shooting itself?

I meet with a designer who I am currently working with, he outlines his topic and idea and I try to fit in those boundaries. Then I choose the most appropriate location which should underline his collection. The casting of models and the overall visage is consulted mostly by both of us.

Could you advise our readers which photographic technique is suitable for fashion photography, respectively, what do you use?

I use DSLR Canon Mark II, fixed focal length f/1.8 85 mm, f/2.8 24-70 mm, f/4 70-200 mm with a combination of daylight :).

What makes you to express yourself also by painting?

I paint and draw since my childhood. Photo is just an accelerated process of these two activities. I’m not going to give them up and I hope having more time for them. Things that are created by my own hands are more valuable for me.

Do you watch other Slovakian photographers? Which one respectively who are your favorite photographers in general?

There are many interesting and good photographers in Slovakia. Of those young I like Michal Pudelka and Jan Durin. I admire Peter Lindbergh and his way he captures the female character of women. His photographs have the atmosphere of old films, are nostalgic and tell the story. Other photographers can be considered as innovative and shocking, but sometimes the effort to be original is exaggerated. Lindbergh work is classic and have a meaningful value for me. He doesn`t shock, his intentions are different and this all applies to my perception of beauty.


What is the difference in fashion photography here and abroad?

Our photography cannot be compared because there are different budgets and much more people work at one project abroad. We do it in very raw way here. However, sometimes it is worth it, but probably we will have to wait until we reach the same quality and level. I think that fashion photography abroad is more relaxed and creative and not as conservative as ours. Our magazines are afraid to experiment and keep the old previously verified practice.

You work with young Slovak designers, for example PUOJD brand. What do you like on such projects?

I love the dynamics of the environment, changing perceptions, atmosphere and new stories. I always look forward working with new talents such as fashion designers, makeup artists, models or somebody who gives me impulse for my creative work. I like to try new things and do not want to wake up one day and do my job in the established routines. Every new project is an adventure for me.

What are your plans for 2014?

I would like to have a solo exhibition of paintings together with a video projection.




robert vanoWe Slovaks have a special nature. We open museums and celebrate people who don`t even know they are from Slovakia instead of having focus on those, who claim to their place of birth and are successful worldwide. One such is Robert Vano – Slovak photographer living in Prague. His road to photography and a career of a top photographer was not easy at all. He was born on 5th of May in 1948 in Nové Zámky. Shortly after graduation, in 1967, he emigrated through Yugoslavia and Italy to the United States where he had been living more than a quarter of century. He made this tough decision because he was scared of doing national service in Slovakia. To begin with life in USA was difficult. He worked only part-time as a seller and a belt maker. Later, with the help of the Hungarian family, he was hired as a hairdresser and make-up artist. Then he began working as an assistant for famous photographers such as Horst, Glaviano, Castel, Fallai. He gained a lot of valuable experiences there. In 1984 Robert started his own career as a photographer. He worked in New York, Paris and Milan where he shot for famous fashion magazines such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Donna, Seventeen, etc.
Since 1990, he has been living in Prague. During 1996-2003 he worked as an artistic director of the Czech version of Elle magazine. Later, in 2009, he was involved with the Czechoslovakian models Agency. Now he is a freelance photographer. Robert Vano is mainly a fashion and advertising photographer. However, his work also includes portraits, floral still life, landscapes and nudes. He doesn`t hide his sexual orientation. This is evidenced by his work and his male nudes have become famous worldwide. He stubbornly refuses ink and pigment print. He captures black and white portraits and nudes on classic film and he also uses a very rare technique – platinum printing. As he argues for eternal value just one life is not enough and the value of art is just measured by its overlap. Platinum printing is not only beautiful. It`s also the most long lasting of all photographic processes. It is being estimated that the well done platinum print will last thousands of years. By using the technique of platinum printing Robert Vano returns us to our photographic roots.
He has published several photographic publications and has performed exhibitions in New York, Milan, London, Prague and Bratislava. In 2010 he was awarded European Prize of “Trebbia” for his support of art and creative activities.

I`ve always liked his photos his idiomatic humor and detachment. It is therefore a special pleasure for me to publish an interview with such an interesting personality.

It seems as if Slovakia has forgotten about you and now it`s just slowly discovering you. Do you have any feelings for Slovakia?

I think that`s obvious and goes without saying when a man does not live somewhere more than 40 years people might forget him. Some of those who knew me when I was living in Slovakia have already passed away or are retired. I emigrated in 1967 and people mostly know you in your hometown. When I lived in New York I was known in New York. Now I live in Prague so they know me here. I have no relatives in Slovakia. My parents passed away a long time ago and my sister emigrated. There is no reason to go back anywhere. But I can never forget Slovakia or hate it because it is the place of my birth; I have it written it in my passport and it will stay there until my death. I spent there the most beautiful years of my life, my childhood. There I went to school, there I played games…
My emigration was not associated with place of birth. In my childhood grandmother used to tell me to go as far as the eye can see. People were used to commute in the past. Grandma also kept saying that when she was young in Austria, it was usual, when 15 years old boy grew up his father would give him a back pack and send him to Vienna. And after twenty years he returned and was able to speak seven languages and knew how to sew a white shirt. There are certain professions which you must go for. We are a small country. It’s not just that I wanted to shoot fashion. If I had wanted to be an astronaut I would have gone to America or to Russia, from where they flew to the Moon. Here, you can just be a pilot. Divers must go to the sea, actresses to Hollywood and photographers to Paris or New York. Now I am slowly returning to Slovakia due to one man, Mayo Hirc, with whom I am preparing several projects. One of them is the Robert Vano Gallery – a gallery, which in forthcoming months is going to bring to Bratislava the works of famous foreign photographers. The main idea is about organizing workshops and promoting young talents. I am very glad that by my humble self and with the Robert Vano Gallery I can contribute and promote young talented Slovakian photographers.

What is the way to start career across the sea? What was the point at which you moved from an ordinary photographer to elite?

Career across the sea have to be started in the same way as in front of the sea I just don`t know how it starts in front of the sea. America helped me by providing some easy guidelines which a man could follow. I`ve always said that in order to have a dream profession a man needs to know exactly what he wants. And this is the hardest thing, because everyone can do four or five things well. You can be a good father, a taxi driver, a surgeon or a good photographer. And if you know what you want to do, you have to find a recipe. And when you have the recipe, you have to do better than everyone else.
The breaking point happened for me in 1988. At that time I had already been working for several years but it had been slow. When I was travelling from New York to Paris and to Milan, to one show, I saw the enlarged billboards of my works at the airport. There was Cindy Crawford in New York City and a different one in Paris. And I felt that it was working. It happened only once and since then, nothing similar has happened. That time I realized that it would be my job forever.

Do you think today if a photographer wants to be successful must he go across the sea? Is not Bratislava enough?

Certainly, anywhere is ok. Albania is fine as well if it goes ok with a particular person. It would be terrible if everyone went to New York. It depends what you want to do. I wanted to do fashion photography and fashion is not in Bratislava. Fashion is Paris, Milan and London. People go to the Czech Republic to learn how to make a beer, Hungarians have sausages, we do gnocchi, Russians vodka and Paris does fashion. So it is and so it always has been. If this does not change and if a man learns quickly what he wants, he will go where they do the best. Even the Bible says when the mountain won`t come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain. After that a man can go home and takes with him his knowledge of what he has learned.

Your statement “Now there is a trend of taking pictures of people crowded in a bus…” is legendary. Today everything nice is considered kitsch. Why do you think this is?

I do not know exactly what is behind it. I blame communism for everything which does not work. I saw a documentary by Věra Chytilová. There was a scene in which, in 1948, national security agents came to the National Theatre and told photographers that the actresses would not be photographed in hats but in towels and not in the palace but by the combine harvester. Everything which was beautiful was bourgeois or capitalist. And this is how it ended. Now, it is difficult to undo. It goes slowly. Some young photographers are doing beautiful things. Many of them are doing documentary. In the USA they used to say about reportage “A lot of music for a little money.” To shoot the story you don`t need any money. You just go on the street and take pictures. But if you want to do fashion photos it makes a lot of money. In order to capture something beautiful, you have to prepare beautiful things. You need a beautiful model, nice clothes, hair, makeup and background. If you are thinking of shooting by Niagara Falls and of taking Claudia Schiffer, you need a million at least. But taking pictures of the homeless, or people crammed in a bus, it costs nothing.

271-Dan,Praha 1990

What is your opinion at critics? In one interview you shared that “The best advice is don`t listen to anyone! “.

That`s interesting that I keep saying that, because I`ve always had a good criticism. Sometimes someone says that he doesn`t like my work. Mostly people who don`t know me.
But the critic also needs work. I`ve been told I shouldn`t need the advice of others because if something goes wrong I won`t know who broke it. When I make a mistake by myself, it`s easy to correct it.
I`d rather listen to someone who is a professional and works in the area, because of his experience. Indeed, critics also went to the same schools as photographers did, but they criticize and don`t prepare exhibitions. If a critic had an exhibition at the Pompidou Museum, and told me how to get there, I would follow his advice of course. I always say “The best advice is don`t listen to anyone!”.
After all, how do you know when someone writes about something that it is good? He doesn`t create anything. I won`t be younger or richer. I won`t get an Oscar so why pay attention to it.

It’s known that you like shooting male nudes. Actually your photos in this topic are legendary. Actually you have also taken pictures of many even very well known women. What are the differences between male and female models? I am thinking of their character. Who is more crabby, unruly, etc…?

Girls are more complicated, of course, because they have more experiences and are more interested in shooting and modeling. When I choose a man as a model, he usually tells me that he needs 14 days to prepare and when he comes and is satisfied with himself, there is no problem.
But girls need makeup, hair and want bigger lips and a smaller butt and boobs. From this point of view, collaboration with men is better, and there is more work with girls. Guys say whether to shoot or not in advance and once they agree they say nothing. Or maybe they just don`t care about so many details as girls do.
Are our local “celebrities” as selfish as you often mention in interviews? Can we find among them some real professionals?
Certainly there are also real professionals there. In the work we do they want mostly young people. Our entire company is oriented to young people. And it is difficult to shoot a 20 years old chick. I have portrayed some 80 years old, such as Ms. Květa Fialová or Mr. Brodský, and there was not a problem to shoot them.
When you go to photograph some superstar (pop idol) who has sung one song, it is a problem. They are educated by their agents. Their older colleagues are professionals, in my opinion, due to the fact they`ve already been photographed and know when they look good. When they don`t want to shoot, they let me know in advance. And when they say yes, there is no problem.

And what are you like during a shooting?

I do not know. You’d have to ask my assistant. I once read an interview with a model who was asked what it is like taking pictures with me. She replied that she didn`t know because all the time I hadn`t said a word. When I am going to shoot, everything is prepared in advance. I want to know everything in advance and I prepare everything before people arrive. Then I tell them what I want and after that I say nothing. Maybe, I’m boring when shooting. Well, and nobody photographs me. I do not like it. Usually I photograph myself or I ask my assistant.

029 - Avion, Praha 1992

We are a photography magazine and, therefore, a classic question. What camera and what lights do you use? Do you have assistants, etc.?

I usually use my first camera that I bought in the late sixties. Perhaps they do not make it anymore. . It`s called a Konica Instant Press. It is 4.5 by 5.5 inches. I use it for my work. You must not change the camera every time there is a new one. Then people would not recognize your work. For a photographer it is important to keep the same style. To be visible. If I ever changed the camera people might be confused. I usually shoot by daylight. If artificial light is needed I use Elinchrom. I have had been using an assistant for about ten years. For large orders, when one assistant is not enough, I have two or three. But mostly I have only one. When I shoot for myself, I shoot on my own and I don`t need to have any assistant.

You work with the technique of Platinotype. What makes it so fascinating?

Bernard Shaw once said a long time ago: “I have very simple taste to be satisfied with the best.” Therefore, whenever I do something, I want to do it perfectly. Platinotype has fascinated me ever since I saw it at the show of Irvin Penn in New York and those photos were wonderful. We may compare it to baking bread. It is quite different if you bake the bread yourself or you buy it at the store. I do not know how to develop a color photo. Once I tried it and it went terribly…
Nobody else works with platinotype and it’s also quite expensive. I read that the platinum print photo is the noblest and that this technique is one of the oldest photographic processes, discovered in 1850. It disappeared during the First World War. They said if the photo is developed and washed well, that it can endures even one thousand years. Well, I know how to do it. I can do it by the light as it only reacts to sunlight or UV radiation. And it’s nice.

How do you get along with digital? Does it have something to offer?

Certainly if I need to take a quick photo I take it with digital. I try to fulfill each contract with respect to clients needs. I say that the truth is always on the client`s side. So if a client wants digital I use digital. I’m not technically proficient to see the difference between digital and analog and I don`t even ask. Those, who used to take pictures on film and now use digital, say that there is not so much noise and sharpness. I just know that films are better to preserve, better than digital, and there isn`t much experience with digital so far. How long can a photo last on CD?
I have 40 year old films and they are still the same. Some say that the photos on a CD are destroyed in five years. I don`t want to comment on it, as I have no experience with it. This is also what I have learned, that the client is always right. I don`t care if a client has bad taste. I still do the same thing in my own way with the same camera and with my hands. That`s my style.

055 - Baletka, Praha 2005

What do you like, or dislike about today’s photography? Do you keep an eye on the creation of younger generation?

Usually, I do not follow anyone. There I am very selfish. I care about my photos. I occasionally keep an eye on younger photographers. But I do not know who the younger generation is, if it’s a 20 year old photographer. When a man steps out from the crowd, he is no longer very young. For example, I consider the younger generation as La Chapelle, who has now had an exhibition in Slovakia. He is 50 years old but is 15 years younger than me, so, for me he represents the younger generation. I know young people only from various workshops that I lead and from some exhibitions. But they are good. I’m not a critic. I care about my photos. I want to support young and talented photographers via “The Robert Vano Gallery” and especially support those who are interested in professional photography.

You meet young people also at the courses you are providing for IDIF (photography institute). Can they inspire you somehow?

Young people inspire me. I learn from them all the new stuff. Mp3, photoshop, digital, and everything I should do with it. Young people inspire me the most.

You have taken a huge amount of photos. Do you have some which you haven`t exhibited yet?

Yes, definitely. Most of the photos I have, have not been published yet, because I follow the principle which I learned in USA, that for the first 20 years a man should learn his profession, for the other 20 years he should work and produce, and for the last 20 years he should release what he did in the past. People usually know my platinum collection because it was the first big show and others will follow. Even if I don`t shoot at all I have enough material for whole my life, which I can publish.

Do you have any unfulfilled dream photo?

I don`t. All I wanted to do I`ve complied. Now I would like (I do not know whether it is a photographic dream) to have a gallery in Slovakia, to be well known at home and I would like to help young people.
And maybe it would be nice to have an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum or at the Pompidou. But I have no photographic dream in the way, for example, I would like to shoot someone like Lady Gaga.

Kristina Chrastekova,Česká Elle,1998



Peter NagyPeter Nagy – singer, composer, lyricist – Legend of the Czech and Slovak pop music.
For more than two decades he is the one of the most outstanding figures of Slovak and Czech popular music. His being on the music scene was and still is extremely successful. This is evidenced by two dozens of albums with such a number of units sold that today it is just a dream of recent stars. Tens of them became genuine hits.
Peter Nagy was born on 9th of April 1959, in Prešov. He started his career in 1983 with his own music group Indigo. In 1985 he won in the Czechoslovakian most famous pop music contest “The Golden Nightingale”. As a producer, composer and song writer he worked also with child singers with whom he made several very successful albums.
His so far latest (2011) double album is called “Plenty of songs”.
Last ten years he began to fulfill his old dream, which was the creation of art photography. Model and inspiration was a precise work of professional photographers, with whom he previously cooperated in the production of his albums – Fedor Nemec, Alan Pajer.

Currently he runs a photo studio called Atelier of Art Photography – ARTFOTONAGY. Peter uses digital technology and the main theme of his photographic works is the romantically toned female nude.
Peter avoids of shooting professional models. There are women from exotic countries such as the Canary Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Singapore and Namibia among the models he shot. Photos are toned mostly in black and white and then finished in graphics programs. He had several exhibitions in Prague, Bratislava and Vienna.
His photographs were published in Czech, Russian and Brazilian mutation of Playboy magazine. He also became a winner of the cover and editorial in a special issue of this magazine, which was released on his 50th anniversary. In 2007 he was the official photographer of Czech Miss. In 2008 he presented his first book publication. He published also several art calendars, the first one in 2005 named “Intimate images”. His newest one entitled as a “Rum and Choco” is for the year 2012.
His new book “Kindly songs” has been promoted lately (on October 26th 2011) at the Prague Golem club.
The book presents photographs associated with the poetry of Peter’s texts. It is a unique probe into the soul of women. The photographs of Peter Nagy show women as real women. Beautiful, unique and full of emotions.
However at the promotion of his new book he told for the Slovak press agency: “I am quitting with photography….”

Interview with Peter Nagy is nice for me by two reasons. I own his complete discography on gramophone records (an LP record was for 50 CZK) and also with the appreciation I also pursue his successful photographic career. His photos right now at the time of negatives are extremely important. They bring peace, beauty and a good mood. So why is there your statement of quitting photography?

I’ve already shot all I wanted …
The situation in business is so strange … sometimes even comic … TV and Internet feeds are full of slogans and shoutings: “Become a star, become a model, singer, photographer, and celebrity blah, blah …. it’s like a sale of positions where in fact really can stand only those who really have been working for years to reach that position. But the media needs new naives who think that it’s really that easy …
Not a few people want just their “15 minutes of fame “… such a karaoke for drunken (by media).
A number of deaf singers, blind photographers and stupid celebrities increases. It is a price for the internet and the aggression of Medias chasing the readership and audience. It seems to me that the last few years or longer people don’t feel the art and they just want to obtain a fast and powerful experience – what the art photo has never been nor will be. I’ll wait for better time. Now, I am just selling my photos.

You have started to shoot quite late. Why were you interested in photography? Maybe golf would fits you better at your age.
I always wanted to take pictures I just did not have the time and money.
I need something creative … I need something imaginative. I needed to express my admiration of the woman.

How do you cope with difficult life of popular singer and photographer?
This is essentially not controllable in any way. One suffers for the second and vice versa. As a musician I am constantly in the car for my job and as a photographer it’s basically the same. I must say that the studio photography doesn’t satisfy me because of its lack of plausibility. It’s something better than the photo ID just the ID is naked :). The choice of shooting location is hard and also the organization itself. It’s practically not possible to do it together with my music traveling.


Was it difficult to convince people to take you as a photographer?
Nonetheless the majority knows you as a musician and it was certainly a burden. How was the beginning?
From the beginning I absolutely don’t give a dam. One of the fundamental principles of my life is – I do what I want. Whether someone likes it or not. Like the music which I’m doing for my feeling not for critics.
And basically I don’t care what thinks some sweaty writer of some internet online chat who theoretically can do everything “better” than the others.

In the very beginning of your art creation we can see a noticeable impact by Fedor Nemec. Photos were colored and there was a significant intervention by the author, i.e. the collection “Woman & Steel” or “Angels”. And then suddenly the switch to the black and white photographs with a minimum of modifications. What did cause this change?
Fedor is an amazing photographer, my friend and author of nearly all covers of my first music albums. It was an unaware imitation of my idol and the man whose work I have always admired. Later, I began to think about a lot of photos and what should be my own style. I have always liked romance so I started to take pictures in black and white because it’s more dreamy. Today I shoot an illusion – just as it is in my songs. Almost every song is illusory and therefore it can make a positive mood. I always wanted to shoot positive pictures…

Who is usually the first critic of your photos?
Unfortunately, myself. Concerning the work I hate myself so much that I delete many photos right after shooting. A few minutes later I am watching and deleting them again and finally I have the only one I am going to use.


You mainly capture a woman. How is the work with them? Are they stubborn or priggish?
At first women who I am going to capture have to love their body. Therefore I select women who practice professionally or amateurishly fitness, do sports or are ballerinas. Simply women who have no problem with self-confidence. On the other hand in addition to these
“non models” there are women who are so uncritically priggish. I know it mostly from castings of Miss Czech where I worked as a photographer. It was a like tour of pointless self-confidence similar as in a Superstar (Pop Idol). In the front of the lens I like ordinary beautiful women. The so-called “usable for life”.

There are also photographs of animals from Kenya which can be found among your pictures. Was it just a “side activity” or are you thinking of doing something similar in the future?
It was only the opportunity to try a “long lens” in the field. Otherwise the object of my photographic visit to Kenya was women. The result was the third calendar with photographs of exotic women “Rum & Choco”.

Our readers are mainly photographers. For them it would be certainly interesting what the way of taking pictures is. I mean, if it is not a secret, what light do you use, do you take picture just by yourself or do you have an assistant, how do you choose the exterior?
Every photographer has his own way. Shooting of nudes is not about pressing the shutter but about communication with a woman and work with a light. It is therefore important to know the location and how unpredictably the light behaves, same as a woman. It’s very similar:).

Do you use a digital camera or do you also have an experience with the analog photography?
I started with a classic but as everybody after the arrival of digital camera I can not resist.

You are in the editorial board of an independent national magazine of Czech and Slovak photographers together with names such as Jan Šibík or Robert Vano. What does it mean for you?
At first it’s a big honor. For example I value Jan Šibík as report photographer who has no competition over here and apart from that he is an amazingly modest man. Robert Vano is a professional whom I admire for his profound detachment and for his never-ending sense of humor.

This year has been for you full of news – the new double album, a new book. What can we expect in the new year 2012?
I will close myself in a dark room and will sleep there :).