"hitchhike US" by Stanislav Briza

Dec 18, 2017

Stanislav is a Czech artist who creates intense visual narratives that are beautiful and powerful at the same time. Drawing inspiration from contemporary artists, the series presented here is a mix between a classical American road trip and a visual documentation of eating disorders, which resulted in a strong chronicle with multiple angles and layers to discover. Following we present an interview that we had with Stanislav: am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us? SB - I´m from Czech Republic and last three years I have been living in between London and Prague. First I studied acoustic and noise control and that´s what I actually do for living. Apart from that I have always had a passion for photography. Around the age of 7 my parents gave me an old Practica Super TL and enrolled me in a photography course, which was obviously more or less B&W darkroom practice back then in early 90s. Later on, in my mid 20s I established the photography magazine Temnokomornik focused on analogue photography and after that I went to study photography and new media at Silesian University. Since 2014 I have been developing an independent publishing platform BFLMPSVZ. I´m lucky that I don´t need to stress about how to make a living with photography or by making art. am - How did you start in photography? SB - Leaving aside the previous answer, I could say that I started in a serious way when I set up the Temnokomornik magazine. That was a huge experience which subsequently entailed fine art studies at university. am - What inspires your work? SB - Apart from the obvious place where I live and the people I spend time with, the major influence comes probably from the contemporary art in general. I visit key exhibitions, shows, follow artists, read art magazines, buy books or read essays about contemporary art or photography. I try to react and define my own practice in relation to others and to actual trends. I find important not to get stuck in past, not adoring "old" art which is often simply outdated although still could provide strong experience, especially for masses. am - What is “hitchhike US” about? SB - A lot of people think that the book is about a road trip in the US, but that´s the secondary line. The prime subject is H. – the woman whose portraits and snapshots you can see throughout the book. She is a very close friend of mine, very smart and savvy character, but unfortunately also trapped in eating disorder problems since teenager. Our journey was an attempt to escape the daily routine for her, to explore our friendship 24/7 with the burden of bulimia and at the same time to explore the stunning North American continent through an old-fashion way of travelling. By hitchhiking we got closer to the mundane US that is revealed without the veneer of the tourist industry. We met dozens of ordinary Americans, listened to many stories and got a taste of how the "American dream" could really look like. am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists? SB - Apart from the icons such as August Sander, Robert Frank, Bern and Hilla Becher, Ed Ruscha, Stephan Shore, Jeff Wall, Thomas Ruff, Wolfgang Tilmans, Jurgen Teller, Mike Brodie, Diana Arbus there are a lot of Czech artists like Jan Svoboda, Jiří Thýn, Jasanský and Polák, Hynek Alt or Jaromír Novotný, other young or emerging artists I´d mention are Petr Puklus, Rafal Milach etc. The list would be very long. I also follow a lot of blogs and instagram feeds of young artists or even students. There you can see the most actual and fresh upcoming trends in fine art. am - How would you describe your visual language? SB - I deliberately use diverse photography strategies for certain project, however I still try to make captivating images which are able to work also for wider audience not necessarily experienced in fine art. am - What’s your favourite movie? SB - If I had to choose one, then 'The Dictator' by Charlie Chaplin. I have never seen a more visually beautiful, complex, strong and deep movie. Every time I watch it, it makes me cry. Besides Chaplin´s oeuvre I love Aki Kaurismaki´s or Kim ki Duk´s movies. am - What is your favourite photo book? SB - Many, but I particularly like 'A Period of Juvenile Prosperity' by Mike Brodie. am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.

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