There are two things to know about me : I’ve always loved black and white photography and I’m an avid admirer of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The glamour, the jazz, the fashion, the lifestyle!
It was an ordinary Tuesday afternoon when I, looking for a little adventure, found myself in front of a gallery and saw a sign near the door that read “Czech Avant-garde Photography (1920-1939) Open Now”. You can probably imagine my excitement!
The one that caught my eye and made a deep impression was the work of Jaromir Funke.
Funke was born in Skuteč to a wealthy family. He studied medicine, law and philosophy, obviously trying to repel his artsy nature. He didn’t graduate, instead fate called him to live his true self and turn to photography, so, he started a career as a freelance photographer. Jaromir was also a rebel and by 1922 he was a leader of the young opposition movement in photography and a founder of the Czech Society of Photography, whose mission was to create photography that would fulfill new social functions. As an inventor, Funke managed to combine some of the leading trends in modernist European photography, uniting constructivism and functionalism with surrealism. He was obsessed with playing with lights, shadows, mirrors and using ordinary everyday objects to create his surreal and original works of Art.
As the decade progressed, he turned to the production of carefully arranged still lifes. While travelling, Funke became interested in politically engaged photography. “Bad living” was created during the time period of 1930-1931 and was a photographic series that dealt with the issues of poverty. Funke later became an editor of the journal “Fotografický obzor” (“Photographic Horizons”) for several years. He published a number of works including “Od fotogrameuk emoci” which is widely understood to be his manifesto.