A group show of contemporary Czech photography, Tender is dedicated to work that “registers vulnerabilities of people and their environments – the bruises on the fruit”. The selected photographers include image-makers such as Tereza Zelenková, Vendula Knopová, and Hana Knížová, for example, who adopt widely varying styles but can all be seen to investigate this idea in their selected work.
“Remember, ‘tender’ also means a bid and this exhibition is a part of a program established to promote the Czech Republic abroad,” write the exhibition curator Michal Nanoru. “Are you going to accept the offer?”
After losing both grandparents in the space of a year, Nina Röder and her family were faced with the challenging task of sorting out and selling their house – and with it, the inescapable matter of letting go. Röder’s project, Wenn du gehen musst willst du doch auch bleiben, takes its name from a sage observation made by her nine-year-old nephew, Luis, while they were packing up the belongings. Roughly translated, it means: ‘When you have to leave but you still want to stay’.
The unresolvable question of how to grieve is one that follows every death. For many, the photographic act can be a way of thinking through and processing difficult times. During the two-week period before her grandparents’ house was sold, Röder photographed her family in it – sometimes posing in their clothes and with their belongings – archiving its distinct aesthetic before it disappeared forever. “I wanted to show a different way of dealing with grief and loss,” she explains. “By staging absurd scenes with my mum, cousin and brother, we found a strategy of how to say goodbye.”
“Sometimes I forget to breathe when I’m working on a shoot,” says Bara Prasilova, who doesn’t consider herself a fashion photographer, though much of her livelihood comes from commercial and fashion shoots. “There’s often total quiet on the set when I’m shooting an editorial for a magazine.” She plans each shot with near military precision: carefully storyboarded or sketched beforehand, Prasilova even makes some of the props herself. “The shots are often prepared for several hours,” she says. “Clothes, hair and make-up are arranged within one millimeter accuracy, and I discuss every detail with my stylists.” Prasilova almost never improvises, she says, and because she isn’t “saying anything urgent” in her shoots, the results tend to be static and calm. “I don’t often work with emotions; what I value is perfect lighting, focus and technical perfection.” Yet Evolve, the series that won Prasilova the Hasselblad Masters 2014 in the fashion and beauty category, is fraught with emotion, albeit in the highly stylised, meticulous manner in which Prasilova approaches her work. The series examines the delicate, often fragile threads …