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Rostislav Stach

As a little boy I used to enjoy taking walks in the nature. I would be sitting for hours by a pond or in the forest watching animals with binoculars.

My father (Dalibor Stach, died in 1982) was a famous Czech photographer. He has received a number of international photographic awards. He has held six FIAP golden medals (the most important international photographic awards) and a PSA golden medal (the most prestigious award of the American Photographers' Association). He has wished that at least one of his sons would become a photographer, too. He has been trying to show me the secrets of black and white photography in his darkroom. Even though it sounded interesting, I would have been roaming the forests and meadows in my mind. After some time, my father gave up his efforts to make me interested in photography. When I was once telling him about all the things I saw in the forest, he gave me a short reply that was to be of great consequence: "Well, why don't you take a picture of it?!".

On my next walk, I was armed with a borrowed EXA 2B camera and a 200 mm telephoto lens. The very first animal I have taken a picture of was a mouflon. It was about 200 m far, and it was well visible only after having magnified the picture to about 1.5 m. This mouflon was only a few cine-film grains big, but it was the very first picture.

Since then, I would not have left the home without a camera. I have been trying to remember everything my father would tell me about photographing. He was very strict with me, but always able to tell me exactly what mistakes I made and how to avoid these. The first success has not taken long, and at the age of eighteen I had the first pictures of swans exhibited at the international salon in Australia.

I would not be able to live without a camera today. Photographing animals is the purpose and joy of my life - to become an invisible part of the nature, to witness the waking up of a new day, the voices, smells and colors of the nature, to watch the hidden lives of animals and to tell their story in pictures.

Rostislav Stach

© 2004 Rostislav Stach, ArtForum / ICZ a.s.
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