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Friday, 15 August 2008


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Excellent!! He's a bit fetishy, a bit of a perv and I could care less. I LOVE his work. He celebrates women in the most confounding, sexy way across the range of his images.

I found that stuff to be sexy and incredibly HILARIOUS in the same step. There is a defined sense of some sort of humor here.

The camera does matter after all...but, it means nothing without this guy holding it.

So, in the end, the camera doesn't matter because I'm pretty sure this guy would have figured it out the way he wanted to.

Seen some of this before but never enough to really know what he was up to. Thanks.

Geez, for a moment I thought you were giving us a preview of new stuff at this year's Photokina, Mike. (Hey, I could be mistaken, but this guy's cameras look like potential Leica M9s to me.) This is a real switch; a photographer whose work is excellent but whose camera is literally garbage. Mirslav takes the concept of "RAW capture" to a whole new place.

"The subject of Miroslav Tichý is so large and replete with ramifications that I almost don't know where to begin..."

Trying to separate content from style I know where to begin; Miroslav likes BABES!

(More) Seriously, it's usually interesting to see work from a completely different sphere of thought and tools, although actually he's not that different at all from any good photographic portraitist (with a broken Holga). These are some wonderful, dreamy, timeless portraits and vignettes. I wonder how different they might have looked if he used a store-bought camera? Still, long ago I concluded that photography is principally a state of mind and secondarily a matter of fact. So, congruent with that notion, I would imagine that Mr. Tichý's tools are genetically inseparable from his decades-old process.

Hey, is that a new 45mm Charminette on his small camera?

OK, I'm done now.

Hi Mike,

About a year ago there was news that a new book of his work was to be published, possibly concentrating on his girly pics. I pre-ordered through Amazon only to get several emails from them announching postponement after postponement. I finally gave up and cancelled my order. Have you heard anything about the book?


There was a 2005 book that's now out of print and I 2006 book that's still available (it's very small, less than 7" square)--I've added a link to the post--but that's all I know of.

Mike J.

It's a (successful) HOAX!

There seems to be a new book available this month on Amazon;
A weirdly compelling photographer. Maybe obsession is all.

I particularly appreciated Geoff Dyer's article in The Guardian, not just for the excellent account and analysis of Tichý's work, but also for Dyer's style. I'll read anything by Dyer, not because it's always brilliant but because it's often brilliant; even his so-so writing often contains gems. Dyer wrote "The Ongoing Moment", a fascinating and wonderful book on photography (although I suspect others disagree vehemently). Interestingly, Dyer does not photograph; this largely frees him from the distractions of photography's technical minutiae. Perhaps in that sense he shares something of Tichý's attitude?

I've been sifting through this stuff for the past few hours or so. Absolutely fantastic, thank you for this. What's the last image in the post, though? One of the Artists for Tichy pieces?

"The Ancient of Days," by William Blake, 1794. In the British Museum.

Mike J.

I was lucky enough to see the Tichy exhibition at Centre Pompidou in July, and was completely blown away by it. An important thing to realize about Tichy's pictures is that while they are certainly photographs, made with film and paper and those amazing "stone-age" cameras and enlargers, they are also one-of, unique art-objects, since the "support" (matte/frame) is hand-constructed, hand-decorated, and the prints have been, er, "postprocessed" by a creative kind of neglect, and then often "improved" with pen or marker or pencil. That doesn't come through well in the reproductions, but it's a significant part of the impact of the work. It's also what distinguishes Tichy from the "toy camera" school (which I quite like -- heavens, I've even turned my D200 into a pinhole camera on occasion) though there's no doubt there are similarities. Tichy's been compared to Jacques Henri Lartigue and Sigmar Polke as well.

I like the phrase "transcendent primitive" though I'm not sure the comparison with Blake is apt: Blake was hardly a primitive. Mind you, neither, in a way is Tichy, since he's an art-school graduate and lived in a more-or-less intellectual environment before becoming an "outsider". As you said, there are many ramifications. But the work is definitely transcendent.

As for books, the catalog for the Pompidou exhibition (isbn 978-2844263643) is very well done, and seems to be available from amazon.fr (http://www.amazon.fr/Miroslav-Tichy-Quentin-Bajac/dp/284426364X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1218839895&sr=8-1), though of course the text is in French. The bookstore at the Pompidou had copies of both the Japanese and English versions of the catalog for the first exhibition in Japan (English isbn 978-3865604590); it's very good too, and the selection of images doesn't overlap the Pompidou catalog too much. It looks like you can get it from amazon.de (http://www.amazon.de/Tich%C3%BD-Miroslav/dp/3865604595/ref=sr_11_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1218840340&sr=11-1)

For me, Tichy's pictures underlined that photography as art is a way of seeing and communicating that vision, and that can be done in many ways, never mind the equipment, the technique, or subject matter. It's wonderful.

R. Kolewe

Self involved, obsessive............ great .........photography as a thing .............. or is it just stuff

What an amazing character is Miroslav Tichý... and what an extraordinary artist.
No digital pixel peeping here!
In reference to his obviously preferred subject matter. I'm reminded of a quote by Joseph Heller, who (in his 70's) said:
'The older I get, the more beautiful women seem to be'. I know exactly what he means. Perhaps Tichý was similarly (and joyfully) afflicted.
Dennis Fairclough

I confess the Blake comparison left me somewhat befuddled; the befuddlement lasted all day - I kept thinking about it. But if you say it's so, it must be. I would suggest that Henry Darger might be a better comparison, with his Vivian Girls, and his whole lifestyle.

Also, I don't like this stuff very much -- I think it might be more attractive to camera freaks than to image freaks -- while Blake is one of my favorites.

Stnami captures my reaction, actually. This is the second time today I've agreed with him, which sets a world record that will probably last forever. 8-)


I was just browsing through a bunch of photo sites tonight..forums, lists, blogs etc.

I have to say that, by a longshot, The Online Photographer is a refuge from the muck and sheer volume of redundant and retread, meaningless work (IMO). Travel photography being foisted off as art...contrived commercial work being similarly foisted...art art art...oh, everything is art.

Somebody, please, everything is not art, is it? Blast!! Is everyone an artist? The answer to that question is the answer to the first question.

Random Excellence is what I always look forward to here. I've discovered strings to so much great stuff, been reminded of artists I've seen bits of..on and on. It's an excellent cove and THAT is a large thank you for cutting through the crap and presenting good stuff.

The book that is available in France and soon in the UK is the book that was supposed to be available here, but kept getting postponed. I like the Blake comparison and especially the visual of the artworks on their respective aged mounts/papers.

That camera on the first link makes a holga look like a hasselblad. I couldn't stop laughing, thanks for the chuckle.

What size are these prints?

Quite apart from the artistic 'merit' of his work, I'm having quite a laugh at the idea of the dirty-old-man elevated to artiste.

This is exactly the kind of person that mothers warn their daughters about, the kind of creepy guy lurking behind the fence or the shrubbery with his telephoto lens that self-righteous street shooters rail against as giving photographers a bad name.

Perhaps it's the inversion: it's considered taboo for young would-be photographers to stalk old apparently homeless men with their cameras. But the other way around gets celebrated with a major exhibition. Dog bites man!

All this is not to say that I'm judging him. Like others, I truly admire his single-minded dedication and craft, but there's irony in that what in so many contexts would have gotten him arrested, has instead made him a celebrity. I think he's proof positive that the proverbial old pervert with a camera is really quite harmless in the end. On the other hand, it's probably a good thing he did all his work before the advent of digital cameras and the internet.

"All this is not to say that I'm judging him."

Well, maybe a little.

Mike J.

Like Blake, Tichy is a mystic. Like Blake, Tichy was passed off as a madman.

More information is available on my website (www.cirkusworld.com) under "God and his Apprentice - the art alchemy of Tichy and Tjepkema."

The prints are mostly around 20x25 cm. Some bigger, some smaller.

this kind of rarity is what makes my heart sing...

where will the bronze statue be?


can we buy these images?


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