Danielle Capalbo’s Blog

Dark and light

Posted in Encounters, Photos by Quiet Giant on May 16, 2009

Photojournalist Antonin Kratochvil shoots ominously dark, with a preference for creating pitch-black shadows and exaggerated contrast in photos with plenty of light, or letting too little light in the frame to begin with. That makes for visible film grain and the sensation that his blacks are deliberately smudged charcoal strokes.

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(Photos courtesy South Moravia Photoworkshop)

The ominous approach makes sense considering the nature of most of his subjects. Via South Moravia Photoworkshop:

In the last twenty-five years A. Kratochvil has published the coming of war – Afghanistan and Rwanda, the street children of Guatemala and Mongolia, refugees from Tibet, the life in Havana, portraits of Beijing and Shanghai, mining in Bolivia, cholera in Ecuador, enormous water disaster in Amazonia and medical help for native Americans in American reservation.

We saw some of Kratochvil’s poignant work at El Sawy Culture Wheel last night. The photos were part of an exhibit on refugees curated by the International Committee of the Red Cross, or at least lifted from the organization’s archives. Some dated from the ’70s.

Of course the captions and literature were printed in Arabic, so understanding the details was impossible. But the images were moving all the same:  amputees playing soccer on crutches or basketball in wheelchairs, joyously; naked babies huddled on the street; men and women displaced by war; and some that offered relief, like bright-eyed children peeking underneath a tent, smiling straight at the lens with curiosity; and an African toddler mimicking his Red Cross doctor by opening his mouth wide for inspection.

Left my notebook at Flamenco, but I’ll try to locate and post some of the photographs later.

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