Like many before him, photographer  Honza Hronek  first picked up a camera in order to explore the land in front of him, foreign yet familiar, beautiful and waiting to be truly seen. Having moved to England from the Czech Republic at the age of 21, he quickly became connected with the idyllic countryside in a whole new way.

But a move to Paris a year later was the push that Hronek needed to drive him forward in his photography. The gift of a vintage camera that belonged to his grandfather led him to experiment with new photographic techniques in our fair city. “Everything about his visual approach changed. The beauty and the light of the city captivated him,” says his website.

Self-portrait courtesy of Honza Hronek’s Facebook page

But the precious acquisition of a 19th-century  wet plate collodion  camera inspired Hronek even further. The post-Daguerrotype camera, invented in the 1850s, gives unusual and beautiful results, with a catch. Gorgeously printed on black glass, the process requires quick work: the artist must develop and set the photograph completely within about 10 minutes. This requires a portable dark room, good instincts and fast fingers. It took him over a year to collect the materials necessary, but the difficulty did not dissuade Hronek – in fact, it seems only to have spurred him on.  “I prefer things to be complicated, rather than easy, to create,” he says. Spoken like a true artist.

The difficulty was well worth it – photographs of this technique are incredibly unique, dramatic and gorgeous. Hronek’s photographic series  “We Are Not Just Waiters”  went on display Monday at the Rose Bakery (the staff of which make up the subjects of the photos). You can catch the show now through December – don’t miss your chance to see these beautifully unique pieces of art.

Portrait of Clare Oliver courtesy of Honza Hronek’s Facebook page

Honza Hronek, “We Are Not Just Waiters”
On view until December  23
Follow Honza Hronek on his website and on  Facebook.

Get in touch with the author @ParisCheapskate and check out her blog.

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