Miroslav Tichý and His Homemade Cameras

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Miroslav Tichý, an eccentric artist, is well-known for his homemade cameras. He started taking pictures in the 1950s and kept all the photos. It is only a few years ago that the public was able to view the pictures he took with his homemade cameras through an exhibition. Learn more about Miroslav Tichý.

“Photography is painting with light! The blurs, the spots, those are errors! But the errors are part of it, they give it poetry and turn it into painting. And for that you need as bad a camera as possible! If you want to be famous, you have to do whatever you’re doing worse than anyone else in the whole world.” –Miroslav Tichý

image via Cool Thing

Miroslav Tichý was born in Czechoslovakia in 1926. He studied painting at the Academy of Art in Prague but never finished due to communism in his country in 1948. After that incident, he became an eccentric man who mostly kept to himself. He lived a non-conformist lifestyle and had a history of mental illness which landed him in institutions for monitoring. In the 1960’s, he was put in prison for being rebellious and was released after 8 years. His life is extraordinary but what’s more special is how he took his photos. He would spend his time roaming the streets taking pictures of women. Since he had no means to purchase his own camera, he made one from scratch.

images via Judith Hoffman: Flickr

Miroslav Tichý would gather trash such as empty cans, old glasses, shoeboxes, plexiglass and other junk that he could use for the construction of his cameras. It is through his homemade cameras that he was able to capture his unusual photos, mostly of women. He would wander the streets and visit places with 3 rolls of film daily. In some cases, Miroslav Tichý would get in trouble with the authorities for the manner in which he took his photos. He would take pictures through windows, fences or hang out by the community pool, making his subjects uncomfortable. However, as time passed, the locals got used to his presence and some would even pose for photos.

images via NY Times, Pbase and ArtNet

Back in 2004, Roman Buxbaum started to collect Miroslav Tichý’s photos and wrote an article about him. After that, his works were displayed in several exhibitions in different places such as Seville, Paris and London. Although now widely recognized for his photos, Miroslav Tichý never attended any of his exhibitions. He opted to live a life in recluse. He died at the age of 85 in his hometown, Kyjov.

For more on Miroslav Tichý, visit his official website

written by jeanmendoza on 2011-09-20 in #lifestyle

7 Comments

  1. mephisto19
    mephisto19 ·

    i saw some of his photos in braunschweig

  2. clownshoes
    clownshoes ·

    Wow This was an awesome article. Thank you.

  3. panelomo
    panelomo ·

    nice read!

  4. rodrigo_correia
    rodrigo_correia ·

    What a great article!! Thank you!! I´m feeling really touched by it!

  5. alviadararathyakirana
    alviadararathyakirana ·

    wow such a great artist....is it a pinhole camera that he made??

  6. alexander_krolikowski
    alexander_krolikowski ·

    He used lenses from broken telescope and made hand-made lenses.

  7. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    Whatever works and some of the subjects look like they like him??

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