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An Interview with Award winning Street Photographer Marcel Kolacek from Czech Republic

"In contrast to other art, photography has an extraordinary ability. As the only one can stop the time. Volatile moments that will never be repeated. Find these moments and capture them, convey, that's what satisfies me. Tell the stories of ordinary people who would were lost under the weight of time."

Marcel Kolacek (1983) is Czech Award-Winning freelance photographer who focuses on black and white humanistic, documentary and portrait photography. Published in Czech and international magazines. His interest in photography has lasted for many years, and his interest is still bordering with obsession. He uses short lenses because he believes that proximity transmits emotions. Among his incomparable legends belong Koudelka, Pedro Luis Raota, Scianna, Kratochvil, List, Bresson, Salgado, Riboud, Nachtwey, García Rodero, Alexandra Boulat, Sally Mann and many others. Everyday life without a beautification, a life that is heavy, but also full of joy and understanding. That's what interests him and attracts him. Reality. Ordinary extraordinary people. Their lifes and moments. He loves cognition new cultures and mentalities, traveling is his passion. A new photo adventure leads to Ghana.

Marcel is also photographing nude. It is a totally different discipline, but his initial interest in photography was caused by Helmut Newton- so passion and enthusiasm for a female nude remained. Newton, Coigny, Penn, Hamilton, Peters are genius photographers for him in the nude category.

RK : Say something about you.

Marcel : A Czech freelance photographer (1983) living in a small town Chomutov, an hour away from the capital. My interest in photography lasts for many years. I am into photography since I was 21 years old, but back then it wasn’t so important- it was an only interesting medium for me, nothing more- the real interest that culminated with obsession began when I was around 28. Now I publish about 3,5 years.

RK : What are your favorite genres of Photography?

Marcel :My favourite photography genre is humanistic, street and nude photography.

RK : What camera do you use the majority of the time?

Marcel : Nothing special and nothing expensive- Nikon D5200

RK : What does ‘street photography’ mean to you?

Marcel : Street photography is very close to me, it’s very sincere genre. Immediate, fast, fleeting. It's a real life. It is a great challenge - to capture the fleeting moment. I am looking for a “magic of moment”.

RK : In recent years, Street Photography has boomed, what do you think it’s due to? And what evolution has there been?

Marcel : I think one of the reasons for the rise of street photography is the desire for authenticity. In today's world of hypocrisy, pose and false beauty, people want reality. This could be one of the reasons why street photography is thriving. And about evolution theme- I think the largest progress in the street photo during years is a full-fledged recognition of genre. Street photography has always been a bit on the edge of the photographic scene, in modern times took respect what deserves.

RK : Why do you work in black and white rather than colour?

Marcel : It was a natural choice. If some photos actually made me fascinate and evoke emotions, it was BW photography, always. I knew black and white is a clear choice. Maybe it has something to do with the personality.

RK : What photo are you most proud of?

Marcel : There are, of course, pictures that are more important / better than others in your eyes. I have a few of them too, but I can’t choose one or two or three and say I'm the most proud of them. They all define me, not just one. Often, your view on your own photos change with time, experience. I hope I’ll add some extras in the future.

RK : What's the most exciting shoot you've ever been on?

Marcel : Africa, Kibera, it was a place that fascinated me. Africa as a whole is fascinating. My next trip leads to Ghana.

RK : What are some of your visual references?

Marcel : I am not sure If I have some visual reference at all.

RK : Being a portrait photographer, what is your favorite kind of portrait photography, and what is it that interests you so much?

Marcel : Humanist portraits of travels, documents, streets are the closest to me. It is again associated with the genre that I am dedicated to. I also like classic portraits, for example, portraits from Irving Penn fascinate me. And if you can read in the faces of people- that’s something that works.

RK : In your opinion, what are some of the qualities that make some photographic portraits stand out and apart from ordinary photos of people? Can you offer some examples of great photo portraits that hold power for you?

Marcel : Depends, I think, at the right moment when you press the trigger. Connect light, object, and nature. Invoke a certain type of mood. One must know what he wants to create, and how. Is it a travel portrait? Is it a fashion portrait? What do you want to show? What do you want to say? What do you want to feel? And when you see it - you'll catch it. It's about your own emotions. There are a many great portraits. From Steve McCurry to Kate Barry. It’s impossible choose a few.

RK : You are a young national award-winning photographer and your work has been exhibited several times. How has it impacted on your photographer’s career?

Marcel : True. And the truth is, maybe surprisingly, that in the Czech Republic almost nobody noticed that I won the National Prize. It had no impact on my photographic career from a public point of view. On my inner feeling and self-realization, of course, the impact was immense - it is very motivating for future work, such awards are mainly an internal success.

RK : Tell our readers something about your award-winning series in NY Photo Plus Expo 2017 , BW Child World Photo Competition 2018 and also the photo that have won the Sony World Photography Award and Czech Republic National Award.

Marcel : I don’t know what to say about my winning photographs, everything you need you can see in the photos. I am not a supporter of deep analysis. Either your photo works or not. If a person needs a long and deep dissection, then they are not good. In all winning cases, it is a street, humanistic photographs.

RK : If you were told that you could only keep one camera and lens combination, what would it be?

Marcel : I think the technique is overestimated. The best technology will not guarantee you a good photo. This is not about technique but about perception. My body will not change until it works - so the Nikon D5200 and the 35mm lens.

RK : Where is your photography going? What are you currently working on and do you have any photographic plans for future?

Marcel : My goal is to take a place in the World Press Photo in the future. At the beginning of next year, I'm going to Ghana, where I will be shooting a new theme for the month. I'm really looking forward. I will try to get the best results. At the same time, I'd like to shooting next year in India, I have two themes that I would like to documented.

RK : What do you do besides photography?

Marcel : My another interests are things around art. I really love recognize creative works across all art spectrum. At the same time I work as a barista for many years.

RK : What's the best advice you can give to photographers looking to shoot portraits professionally?

Marcel : Study the photography. Choose the photographers you admire and be inspired.

RK : How can photographers use social media to transition in to full time professional work?

Marcel : I don’t know the answer to this question - I'm not a great friend with social networks. If you have the chance to show your work anywhere- do it. Very simply rule I guess.

RK : Have you ever been to India and anything you know about Indian Art & Culture?

Marcel : I have never been in India, but I would like to go there next year, as I have already mentioned. I have a general overview about India and your culture. For example, your cinematography has a really good level in recent years, I regularly play Indian movies and listen to Indian music. My last Indian film was 'Padmaavat'. General reports, whether politics, religion or culture, read from information platforms. And one more thing is clear - you have beautiful women in India.

RK : We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to make a bridge between National and International Art & Culture By featuring some National & International personalities who already have made their own path in their respective fields and we think your story and tips might help the newcomers to build their career. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your Indian followers.

Marcel : I think it is absolutely amazing that someone is trying to connect and bring together the artistic scene from different worlds. It is very refreshing and meritorious. When I saw Retro Kolkata, I was impressed by the quality of the magazine. It's great if we can learn from each other. I am glad to contribute with my presence and join in trying to inspire each other. Great thanks to your magazine for this effort. And message for your followers and photographers/artists? Show your work. Everything before you has been here. You are the original.


Follow Marcel Kolacek on Instagram

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