Perpignan, Visa pour l’image festival, September 8, 2001. For a few years, a certain gloom reigns over the world of photojournalism, in seemingly continuous decline. Then, however, a group of seven photojournalists– Alexandra Boulat, Ron Haviv, Gary Knight, Antonin Kratochvil, Christopher Morris, James Nachtwey, and John Stanmeyer– announced the formation of VII, a traditional photo agency based on the global Web.
Look3, a festival that invites a mix of emerging and professional photographers to take a subjective look at the current photographic landscape, kicked off last night with a slideshow of Antonin Kratochvil’s work, titled “In America.” This touching show o
Substantial exhibitions of the work of Nan Goldin, Massimo Vitali and Antonin Kratochvil are the major highlights, and the three artists will also talk about their work, with Goldin appearing in a unique conversation with Sally Mann. In addition the festival will feature “Master’s Talks” and exhibitions by Christopher Anderson, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ashley Gilbertson, David Liitschwager, Steve McCurry, Mary Ellen Mark and Martin Bell, as well as a special exhibition of George Steinmetz photographs hung from trees in downtown Charlottesville.
During the masterclass, renowned photographer and founder of VII photo agency, Antonin Kratochvil, gave an evening lecture at FOAM museum. As a photojournalist, he has tackled a good deal of upheaval and human catastrophe, while going about his documentation of the times in which we live.
In this interview with VII The Magazine, Antonin Kratochvil takes us on a very personal 20-year journey. He gives us a glimpse of what his eyes looked upon that is or may be gone forever. This is a story about loss; the physical loss of place, loss of freedom, historical loss, and the loss of our responsibility as human beings to care for each other and the world in which we live. Vanishing does not offer answers, neither is it a sermon in hopes of brighter days. It is Antonin's visual poem to the world we inhabit.
In “Moscow Nights” Antonin Kratochvil takes us on a journey into a sphere of decadent sensuality that instantly transports the viewer into a dark, dingy, salacious, circus-like combination of nudity, lust and raw sexual power. It is a view of Moscow’s underworld and, as its voyeurs, it is hard not to be touched by the lonely, drugged, almost hollow emptiness lurking beneath the external atmosphere of fervent sexuality. It is also hard not to feel the raw edge and danger that exists in the world of “Moscow Nights”.
The world is full of bold photographers who earn their keep by traveling to rough regions. Kratochvil towers above them all, in large part because his extraordinary background gives him a preternatural cool—not to mention credibility—that can’t be taught. “In what we do, the most important faculties are instinct and intuition,” says photojournalist Chris Anderson, who calls Kratochvil his mentor. “Antonin is the embodiment of instinct. His persona is that of an ogre, but he is frighteningly intelligent, the most astute observer of human behavior I know.”
VII and the International Committee of the Red Cross have just unveiled their globe-spanning project documenting current humanitarian crises, “Our World At War.” The work includes: Lebanon by Franco Pagetti, Afghanistan by James Nachtwey, Haiti by Ron Haviv, Caucasus by Antonin Kratochvil, Liberia by Christopher Morris, Colombia by Franco Pagetti, Philippines by James Nachtwey, and Congo by Ron Haviv.
I thought I’d post a short Q&A session I was lucky enough to have with Antonin Kratochvil. Kratochvil, if he’s new to you, is a Czech-born American photojournalist. He is also founding member of the VII Photo Agency. His career is rather epic at this point
Photo Essay: Lebanon: ” Photos by Antonin Kratochvil
Increasing radicalism among militant groups and a deepening chasm between Lebanon’s Sunni and Shiite population is sending the country spiraling downwards. Assassinations and a protracted political crisis is adding to the crisis.
It is estimated that at least one million Africans earn pennies a day in the backbreaking and increasingly fruitless search for diamonds – a $60-billion-a-year industry that, back in the 1990s, rebels in Sierra Leone and Liberia financed their carnage from diamonds plucked out of the rivers and traded for arms. During a decade of war about 50,000 people were killed, and thousands had their hands hacked off by rebels. Now, a new Hollywood movie is raising tough questions about Africa’s bloody diamond trade.