Fotograf Magazine

Jan Šalda

Only Man Changes All

To write about photography and Jan Šalda in one article is tricky. He photographs with simplicity, bet he interprets his works much in the manner of the Romantic poet Karel Jaromír Erben. Uprooted stumps of wood are to him those under the influence of a magie spell, the tops of interlocked willow trees people connected to one another, poster-pillars are old men or wise counselors. Is this a fairy tale? The connection between photography and the magical is a well-established one, and moreover, among Šalda’s favorite photographers are Karel Malich, Václav Boštík and the late period of František Drtikol, that is to say, Czech artists with a strong spiritual influence or agenda. Rather than pulsating flows of energy, however, we can find in Šalda’s photographs cultural detritus or unostentatious fragments of nature in various pha­ses of growth and disintegration. The concrete qualities of the medium, as well as the artist’s inert approach to exploring them, also form obstacles to a Tull understanding of Šalda’s work. This is demonstrated even in the case of one of his standard school assignments, a self­portrait. For this, Salda photographed the front grillwork of a car.

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