Jaroslav Beneš was born in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia on February 27, 1946. He is a Czech photographer and the co-founder of the photographic group called Český dřevák.
Beneš creates a type of “architectural still-life” in the true sense of the word.
Although the subjects of Beneš’s photographs are usually buildings or architectural details, he cannot be considered a photographer of architecture as such.
He says of his own work: “To me, photography does not mean depicting reality. It is an irrational absorption in myself, my problems, emotions, and dreams. My photographs are only a product or, so to speak, waste of an activity that helps me to survive and balance my life.”
Jaroslav Beneš has been exposed to different forms of art since he was a child. As a schoolboy he played different musical instruments, went to the theatre with his parents, and his uncle was an amateur painter.
At the beginning of the 1960s he started to attend the Secondary School of Agriculture in Plasy, where he was involved in extracurricular activities, such as poetry, drama, and music. It was also there that he was first introduced to Chinese poetry, which he still loves today.
Since 1978 he has been an archivist and photographer for Prague Waterworks.
In 1989 he co-founded Aktiv volné fotografie (The Free Photography Caucus) and a year later, he founded the Prague House of Photography.
He says his main topic is the co-existence with architecture “created by and for people”. He lets the genius loci of architecture influence him, but calls his photographs “purely subjective, emotional, and free from any calculation”.
His images are harmonious in terms of both composition and lighting, are filled with internal drama and tension, and sometimes even a Baroque sense of chiaroscuro.
All of Beneš’s photographs are untitled.
His photographs are mainly of contemporary architecture, the setting of our contemporary life, the edifices of which are not only collective but also part of the artist’s personal everyday reality.
Český dřevák official website.
More on Český dřevák here.
Prague House of Photography
110 00 Praha 1
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