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Photojournalist Karel Cudlín Presents Silver Tide

(This article expired 28.03.2014.)

The Embassy of the Czech Republic, in collaboration with the Embassy of Israel and the Jewish Museum in Prague, will open the photo exhibition SILVER TIDE by renowned photojournalist Karel Cudlín to mark Yom HaShoah - Day of Holocaust on April 8, 2013, at 6:30 pm.

Silver Tide by Karel Cudlín

Photography Exhibition by Renowned Contemporary Czech Photojournalist Karel Cudlín

This exhibition provides a glimpse into the contemporary life of the Jewish community in Prague with a special focus on the Hagibor Jewish social care facility. Part of an extensive project that Cudlín has been involved in for several years, these works transcend the narrowly defined genre of social documentary photography. In his work, Cudlín draws on the tradition of humanistic photography which involves establishing close relationships with his “models.” It is precisely in this vein that Cudlín has conceived his comprehensive photo series and powerful portraits that are the focus of this exhibition. Reminiscent of chiaroscuro paintings, Cudlín's photographs offer a unique visual testimony to human life, of which old age is an essential, if often overlooked, part. It may be said that one of the main aims of this show is to explore the nature of beauty and its perception, which is often burdened with stereotypes. It concerns an attempt to depict the elderly not as victim survivors that are seen merely as a source of memory and as recipients of social care, but also as individuals to whom the adjectives “beautiful,” “spirited” or “humorous” may naturally be applied and whose strength is not necessarily proportional to their physical prowess. This exhibition will provide a not entirely usual perspective on a phenomenon that is becoming an increasingly frequent topic in contemporary visual art, as is evident from many other projects of a similar type. The curator of the the exhibition is Michaela Sidenberg.

Karel Cudlín (b. 1960) is often called a documentary photographer in the well-established tradition of humanistic photography of the 1940s and 50s, whose leading lights, chiefly Henri Cartier-Bresson, founded the Magnum agency. Cudlín’s work also shows a strong affinity with American street photography. As with many of his predecessors and contemporaries, his photographs often go beyond classic photojournalism. Though his shots might always come from an unmanipulated reality, more often than not his infallible sense of composition, light, gesture, and expression guides him to isolate the situation as if it stood outside of time and space. A few years ago, the Czech novelist Jáchym Topol tried to fathom how this mechanism of a “reporter’s shot of eternity” worked, how it turned the banal moment into an icon. In his afterword to Journey to the East, a book of photography he coauthored with Cudlín, he admitted to having failed to uncover the secret of the cause, yet he was incisive in elucidating the effect: “The photo, torn from reality, delivers a message to eternity.” In relation to the faces of those who survived the Shoah, this is a message of unrepeatable urgency. The spontaneously composed images achieve their remarkable immortality thanks to the singular eye of the photographer. They remain in our memory as if they were still alive, and this is what’s most important.

Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic
3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008

RSVP by April 6, 2013: robert_rehak@mzv.cz

Admission is free. Light refreshment will be served.