Antonín Kratochvíl is a Czech-born American photojournalist who has not only captured some of the most incredible photos of this day and age, won the World Press Photo Award in four different categories, and founded VII Photo Agency, but has also been an incredible inspiration for young photographers around the world. His list of many achievements can go on and on but it would just be easier to say that his unique style and unforgettable photographs have made him one of Czech’s and the United States’s favorite photojournalist.
Following in his fathers footsteps, he fell into photography by chance. At the early age of nineteen he had the opportunity to attend an art academy in Holland and was accepted as a photography student. He used photography as an outlet for his anger and emotions. With every photograph he wanted to communicate those feelings. Antonín spent quite a bit of his young life in refugee camps as well as in prison. This made him aware of the different aspects of life which really translate though his photos.
He has photographed almost everything and everyone, from portraits of Mongolia’s street children to the ads of some of the most well known fashion brands we know today. In a sense, he is one of the men who changed journalism from simply being impersonal and unconnected news to really giving everyone the public’s view of what was happening at that time. Even if you have never seen his photographs before, looking at them feels very familiar and recognizable. They are universal. In each portrait you can feel the connection to that specific person. Their eyes evoke feelings of sadness, anger, or agony, and through the lens you feel like they are addressing you.
Mostly capturing photos of suffering and war, Antonín says that it is important to capture the moment without staging it or waiting for something to happen. He says that taking a photo is a feeling, not an action, and when the moment passes you will never have it back. If you take the time to do a bit more research you may notice that all of his photos are taken in black and white. This is because he felt like he did not need color to show the emotion. He believed you could see the pain or expression though the eyes.
There is more to photography then just pressing the shutter. – Antonín Kratochvíl