Fotograf Magazine

Collecting – special 20th anniversary issue

This edition departs from our series of thematic issues, as it is a celebration of the magazine’s twentieth birthday. As is usually the case with birthday celebrations (particularly such important ones), memories of the past intersect with the future. This is why this issue is dedicated to our activities and a summary of them, along with talents we believe in. In place of allotting the second part of the magazine to theory and current news, as in other issues, we decided to create a special edition on a topic that we have been discussing for years – now, the time has finally come to open it, grasp it fully, and thus change the art market in the Czech Republic. The topic at hand is collecting.

What has taken place during the twenty years of Fotograf’s existence? Cramming the feelings and milestones of Fotograf over the course of two decades into only a few lines is absolute nonsense. And yet we sometimes do things like that. So, as telegraphically as possible: For the first five years, the content was deliberated upon in a highly archaic manner – without access to the internet and with the use of catalogues that weighed about a ton. Then came the idea to open our own exhibition space, because we felt that was exactly what Prague was missing. A year later, we said the same thing about a photography festival, which we also started. If it sounds a little romantic, naive, and crazy, it is because that is exactly what it was. Meanwhile, we chased ten shows a year through the gallery, occupied the city with our festival every autumn, and forced the magazine under readers’ noses both at home and abroad. Then everyone agreed that it would be a great idea to publish the magazine twice as often and also put together a year and a half of residencies for artists and curators from the Visegrád Group and Georgia. Many of the ideas I am not including here were bad, which is why I have chosen to forget them. What I do know is that I will once be reminiscing about these twenty years, and that there might be more of us.

It is somewhat symbolic that it is this year that Fotograf joins the Futures international photography platform, an organization focused on supporting emerging talents across Europe. Along with our partners, we represent an important point on the map of Europe, which gives our activities a further, broader meaning. On the one hand, Futures helps with the visibility of talented artists without age restrictions, and on the other, it draws attention to the medium itself and the themes that report on the current state of the world. Every year, Fotograf Magazine nominates five artists working with the photographic medium. They receive not only a fee, but also possibilities for professional development within the platform. This time, we have dedicated the entirety of our profiles section to presenting these artists.

On this exceptional occasion, we have made it our aim to step out of our classical art-studies focus and create a special edition that will be able to explain to other target audiences the potential of high-quality art photography and the reasons for supporting and collecting it. In 1997, after he established the Paris Photo trade fair, Rik Gadella said that the only thing photography is missing now is a market.  We decided to take this witticism seriously in relation to the situation in the Czech Republic. It is a theme that is often neglected within photography, which is why I consider it all the more important to approach it seriously and at times somewhat didactically (I am sure the professionals will forgive us).

Markéta Kinterová