Studio of Photography
In today's art, photography plays a major role, having, at the same time, much more facets than any other artistic discipline. Photography is a moving thing. By abandoning the solid, fixed core one uncovers its greatest asset: a missing aesthetic pattern and multitude of rhetorical forms used to express facts, fiction and imagination. Today's photography is not just about capturing a moment or a fragment of reality - it is also about the artistic concepts used in doing so. Photography itself is changing constantly, resulting in significant shifts in its documentary character. When studying photography, one has to look at all of its aspects - photography as an artistic discipline, photography in amateur production, applied photography, etc. - and the mutual relations between them. Hence, the study of photography is both a study of an artistic discipline and a social phenomenon.
The main principles of studio are:
- Conceptual thinking: Ways of generating creative impulses, of defining the project at its outset and after its completion. A way of addressing issues and finding solutions.
- Craftsmanship itself should not be the ultimate target, yet still has to be one of the highest priorities. Without technical and technological knowledge the student has to depend on crude and primitive methods.
- Critical thinking: Students have to learn to articulate their thoughts, find sound arguments, be able to react to the suggestions of others and employ knowledge obtained from technical literature and other sources. Critical thinking helps to define a position towards the environment and to create works of art capable of appealing to the wider public.
- Social skills: Mutual communication and interaction during assignments requiring good teamwork.
- Professional future: All students should leave the studio capable of presenting their skills by means of an exhibition, portfolio or website; in addition, they should be able to write a text to supplement their work, prepare a good CV and lead professional discussions with individuals or institutions.
The study is complemented with regular workshops and discussions with contemporary Czech and foreign artists. In addition to practical courses, students attend theoretical lectures about the history, philosophy and technology of photography. The study involves regular trips to domestic and foreign cultural centres and scholarship exchange programmes with renowned institutes abroad.
The Studio of Photography was founded in 1995 by Pavel Štecha, becoming one of the then five Studios of the Department of Graphic Arts.
Notable artists connected with the studio include Jiří Thýn, Salim Issa, Štěpánka Stein and Alena Kotzmannová.
Head of the Studio
Associate Prof. MgA. Aleksandra Vajd
Aleksandra Vajd was born in Maribor, Slovenia. She holds a degree from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Ljubljana as well as a B.A. and an M.A. from the Department of Photography, Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), Prague. Between 2004 and 2006 she attended the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz on a fellowship from the Fulbright Foundation. In 2008 she became an Associate Professor at the Academy of Plastic Arts in Ljubljana, where she still teaches. She holds a concurrent appointment at the Academy of Visual Arts in Ljubljana.
MgA. Hynek Alt, M.F.A.
Hynek Alt was born in Kutná Hora. He graduated from the B.A. and M.A. programs at the Department of Photography, Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), Prague. In 2000 he was a visiting scholar at Middlesex University, London. In 2006 he completed the M.F.A. Program at the State University of New York at New Paltz, where he studied on a scholarship from the Fulbright Foundation.
Collaborative as well as solo works by Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alt have been featured at numerous exhibitions in the Czech Republic (GHMP, Galerie Futura, Ateliér Josefa Sudka, Galerie 5. patro) and abroad (Moderna Galerija, Mestna Galerija, Lublaň; Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, NY; Samuel Dorsky Museum, New Paltz, NY; Czech Center New York, NY; Galerie 35, Berlin; Zak Gallery, Berlin).
Vajd and Alt have won a number of grants (a grant from the Vordemberge-Gildewart Swiss Foundation, a fellowship from the Fulbright Foundation, the Slovenian Ministry of Culture Fellowship) and awards (1st prize, Frame005, Czech Republic; nomination: the Deutsche Borse Photographic Award, Great Britain; finalists: OHO Group Award, Slovenia; honorable mention: Aperture Foundation, USA; finalists: Henkel Art Award, Austria).
Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alt are founding members of the platform for contemporary photography and plastic arts Format 1, www.format1.org, and editors of the journal Fotograf.
Their projects are presented at www.altvajd.com and www.manwomanunfinished.com.
Our working process is based on collecting visual elements in their everyday environments, divorcing them from their original contexts and searching for novel connections, analogies and transpositions. Images are assembled in sequences or installations, which exist as a new, independent component of reality. Through an unceasing dialogue we explore the issues of authorship, uniqueness, subjectivity, simulacra, stereotypes, social and sexual identity, appropriation, simulation... We attempt to draw on the conceptual shift in the comprehension of reproduction, representation and simulation as the photograph's basic capacities.
MgA. Jakub Peršín
Jakub Peršín was born in Liberec in 1972. From 1987 to 1990 he attended Essex Jct. High School in the USA. In addition to working as a free-lance translator and interpreter from 1991 to 2000, he also earned a B.A. degree from the Department of Photography, Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), Prague (1997-2000). Between 2000 and 2002 he was a member of the Academic Senate at the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) as well as the Academic Senate at the Academy of Performing Arts (AMU). From 2000 to 2001 he taught a course on photography for New York University in Prague. From 2000 to 2003 he attended the M.A. program at the Department of Photography, Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU). In the years 2001 and 2002 he chaired the Academic Senate at the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU). In 2002 he received an internship, NARAFI (Brussels, Belgium) through the Socrates Program. Between 2004 and 2007 he worked as a free-lance photographer (press, architecture).
Artforum, Photography Bi-Annual, Berlin
Photography Month, Paris
Open-air exhibition in the Klenová Castle within the Art Residency Program arranged by Klatovy / Klenová Gallery
Lectures by visiting artists and portfolio consultations with them (Viktor Kopasz, Martin Kollar, Roman Babjak, Krzysztof Zielinski)
Exhibition in the gallery (a)void organized by students from the Department of Theory
Presenting students' works in Format 1, Gallery Langhans Prague