Donna Watson, altered digital image of nest, rice papers, acrylic
Miroslave Tichy was born in Czechoslavia in 1926. He studied painting but never finished due to communism in his country in 1948. Tichy dropped out and became a dissident and a hermit. He refused to kowtow to the communist regime and spent 8 years in prison. He retreated from society, grew a beard, left his hair uncut and wore tattered clothing. He became interested in photography but had little money.
Tichy would gather trash such as empty cans, old glasses, shoe boxes, plexiglass and other junk that he could use to make his own cameras. For his lens, he would cut plexiglass with a knife.
Using these cardboard cameras constructed from found materials like clothespins, spools, tubes, string), Tichy shot about 2 rolls of film per day, mostly of females caught unaware in the midst of their day-to-day activities (sunbathing, reading, riding bikes, sitting on park benches).
By the end of each day he would have about 100 shots. While there is an element of voyeurism to his images, the women became used to Tichy wandering about and taking their pictures from a distance.
Tichy never showed anyone his photographs. As a matter of fact, he usually threw them into a heap on the floor. They would be stepped on, scratched, crumpled up, or left out in the rain. Old and neglected, many of them have partially oxidized. They are covered with fingerprints, grit, insects...they are small and oddly shaped.
The photographs looked like the mistakes other photographers would throw away. But for Tichy
the imperfections are where the beauty resides: "The flaws are part of it. That's the poetry."
Many of Tichy's photographs ended up in a big heap on the floor.
He may have had a foot fetish. A lot of his photographs are of women's legs, feet, or shoes.
It is only a few years ago that the public was able to view the pictures he took with his homemade cameras. His first solo exhibit went straight into the main exhibition space in the Kunsthaus Zurich.
Tichy refused to go to any of his exhibits. A number of books have published his images. Tichy passed away this year.
"Photography is painting with light! The blurs, the spots, those are errors! But the errors are part of it, they give it poetry and turn it into painting." --- Miroslav Tichy
"Identity is gradual, cumulative; because there is no need for it to manifest itself, it shows itself intermittently, the way a star hints at the pulse of its being by means of its flickering light. But at what moment in this oscillation is our true self manifested? In the darkness or the twinkle?"
--- Sergio Chejfec, The Planets