Miloslav Tichy


Miroslav Tichy…painter who turned to photography and who made his own cameras from cardboard tubes and tin cans.

Although his methods of capturing photographs of subjects may be considered disturbing and voyeuristic, the results are fascinating and more revealing in many ways that a portrait posed in the studio.

Many thought that his camera was a toy and that he was only pretending to take their photographs.

Tichý made his equipment from materials at hand; a typical camera might be constructed from plywood sealed with road asphalt, with a plywood shutter operated by a pulley system of thread spools and dressmaker’s elastic. Telephoto lenses were constructed from cardboard tubes or plastic pipes; the lenses cut out of Plexiglas then polished with a mixture of toothpaste and cigarette ashes.

His enlarger combined sheet metal, two fence slats, a light bulb and a tin can. Once a picture was printed, Tichý might scissor off unwanted parts to improve the composition: particularly successful images were pasted onto cardboard or backed with other paper, and he often drew lines to reinforce the subject’s contours or to heighten an image’s expressiveness. He often decorated the margins with hand-drawn designs.