Miroslav Tichy – reclusive photo-vouyeur

Miroslav Tichy
The Czech photographer Miroslav Tichy

My friend, photographer Ron Klein, having just returned from a trip along the Siberian railway with a Russian cohort, brought a cardboard camera to an IAPP meeting some years ago. It was constructed during the journey and was a medium format, panoramic camera that made impressive images as I recall. It was a well constructed piece of work intended to make fine, conventional images.

Of course it is not uncommon for photographers to make their own cameras, whether they be sophisticated, special-purpose engineering marvels, converted mint tins or substantially modified extant cameras.

And then there are the various permutations of camera aesthetics that embrace all manner of imperfections from streaky plastic lenses to perpetual light leaks. But the story of Miroslav Tichy is especially fascinating. He apparently fully embraced bad cameras, improper technique and disheveled appearance in equal measure as the fundamental core of his creative expression.

Handmade camera

His cameras were made from collected materials and were often regarded by his subjects as clearly non-functional even as their image was being captured. He lived in Kyjov in the Czech Republic and was a trained artist who ended up living a reclusive and eccentric lifestyle free from the standards of society as he pursued his artistic endeavor.

He has recently begun to receive greater exposure and the following resources are a sample of the material covering his life and work. It is certainly worth tracking down further examples of both his photographs and his cameras.


The artist’s site

Michael Hoppen Gallery – Artist – Miroslav TichyTichy Ocean Foundation


Extravagant Disorder – The Nation

New York Time – Art and Design

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