Levitation by Jan Mlčoch

Jan Mlčoch – acclaimed Czech photographer working in film photography.

Photographing naked body does not require love of course. It does call for not a small amount of appreciation. In my opinion, if my opinion matters, nude photography is one of the most difficult types of photography there is, perhaps even more so now than in the past. It requires careful observation and planning and constant experimenting to come up with frameworthy image. Thousands images posted online and in the magazines miss that appreciation mark, even if they are technically passable.

Combining long exposure and nude is perhaps not something that first springs to mind when we think of either genre of photography. Such a combination should be all the more interesting, even if it be only a light take on it.

If we add to this that models are accomplished athletes highly skilled at sport flying, our interest in Jan’s work should be significantly boosted.

Jan Mlčoch work is rooted in traditional photography. He mostly uses BW medium format film and after developing he magnifies the prints by himself without any digital manipulation. Light painting is something he has been experimenting with for over 15 years now. The technique captivated him and totally dominates his work.

When I received ‘Levitation’ I took two days to open it. Knowing quite a few photographs from the net I wanted to void my mind of them and come to viewing the book as fresh as possible. It was worth the wait.

The more important aspect of Jan’s work is that in the world when photography tends to be revealing, his is a more subtle approach. Balancing between darkness and light, his subjects reveal very little while remaining firmly within the nude photography realm. It is light he plays and experiments with, not the human body. The shapes of light, to be precise. And to catch that share in action Jan selects the most elusive of all the objects – human body.

Human body changes as we grow up and grow older and perhaps this notion, in combination with changing light makes Jan’s images travelling into a very different direction – they become essays on our being in time. Elusive, fragile, whether we perceive it or not, between light and darkness, between being and not-being. This makes his work stand out of the nameless crowd of photographers who want to show rather than tell.

Everyone who is looking for content beyond the visible will, amongst almost 100 images featuring in ‘Levitation’, something for oneself. I found many. As mentioned before, it was worth the wait.