exhibition at café

Sixties | Robert Riedl

11. 6. 2024 - 16. 9. 2024

Robert Riedl (1942-2002) was an ambitious amateur documentary photographer, who captured everyday moments without any aesthetical add-ons.
After graduating from high school in Jihlava, he studied at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at ČVUT (Czech Technical University) in Prague. He devoted his professional career to the national TV broadcaster Československá televize (Czechoslovak TV), where he started working as an assistant cameraman and later on worked in the Department of technological development as a sound engineer. Although he is not known by most of the current audience, he was not completely unknown as a photographer. I found dozens of his photographs that were published in newspapers and magazines between 1964 and 1966. For example, his photographs were published on the pages of the magazine Mladý svět alongside photographers such as Miroslav Hucek, Leoš Nebor, or Zdeněk Thom. He truly adored the work of Miloň Novotný, Josef Koudelka and Marie Šlechtová.

The central theme in his works is a young person. We are transported to the streets of both Prague and even villages, to everyday work life, to moments of joy shared by young people in both our country and abroad through his photographs. He photographs in schools, in aquaparks, in music clubs, during dancing lessons, during hitch-hiking trips, and also in military service or Spartakiad. He tries to be everywhere, where something is going on.

His publishing work that took place over multiple years started thanks to his first photography exhibition in the Klub cinema in 1963. The exhibition was then started by Dr. Ludvík Souček who wrote about Robert Riedl the following: „… he works in the middle of television and movie cameras. He has a truly cultured perspective and an amazing desire to photograph, which did not disappear even after shooting hundreds of movies. His photos are captured on film, he doesn’t concern himself with grain, with additional light, or blur caused by movement. He captures images everywhere, but not of everything. He presents his world of young people, as it is in various situations.“

In the case of Robert Riedl, this is a reminder of an author, who undoubtedly belongs to the history of Czech photography. The thirteen enlarged photographs showcased in Leica Gallery Prague Café are after a long time a small mosaic of the work created by the talented photographer, although the processing of his archive is not yet finished.

MgA. Daniel Šperl, Ph.D., curator