Human catastrophe and tragic upheaval are not unfamiliar to leading photojournalist Antonin Kratochvil. Not only has he experienced calamity professionally but as a Czech refugee, his life has been as tumultuous as his images. Kratochvil’s unique style of photography is the product of personal experience, intimate conditioning and unsolicited voyeurism.
Over the years, his fluid and unconventional work has been sought by numerous publications stretching across widely differing subjects. From shooting Mongolia’s street children for the magazine published by the Museum of Natural History to a portrait session with David Bowie for Detour; from covering the war in Iraq for Fortune Magazine to shooting Deborah Harry for a national advertising campaign for the American Civil Liberties Union, Kratochvil’s ability to see through and into his subjects as well as show immutable truth have made his images raw and uncensored.
What differentiates Kratochvil from other photographers, is his unyielding will and consistent devotion to documenting the most subversive and controversial scenes. This has been recognized faithfully since 1975 with an onslaught of awards. The latest of these are his two, first place prizes at the 2002 World Press Photo Awards in the categories of general news and nature and the 2004 grant from Aperture publishing for his study on the fractious relationship between the American civil liberties and the newly formed Homeland Security since September 11th.
In addition, Kratochvil’s fifth book Vanishing will be released in 2005 marking another significant milestone in his craft. Vanishing displays a collection of natural and human phenomena that are on the verge of extinction. What makes Kratochvhil’s book so epic is the twenty years it has taken to produce, making it not only historical from the onset, but a labor of love and a commitment to one man’s conscience.
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