19. 1. 2024 - 3. 3. 2024
Wallachia, my homeland
The photographer Josef Vrážel (*1966) was born in Karolinka in Vsetín region in the beautiful countryside of Wallachia where he has worked and photographed his whole life. He loves and has a deep knowledge of his homeland which is reflected in the depth of the photographs of people. These photographs are not only simple documentation but perfectly put-together images filled with stories, memories, and the essence of the location where the artist is based, and as he states, he would never leave. Vrážel knows every single part of Wallachia, his homeland. He is well-acquainted with his ‘nice countrymen’. He was aware of their joys, losses, and even hopes. He was born with a great gift of empathy. Thanks to this gift, he can seep through to the hidden privacy, that people offer to him almost on a silver platter, hence, allowing him to capture their images in a way that reflects precisely who they are. His photographs are a pure showcase of the humanity of the beautiful people of Wallachia. Moreover, Vrážel can act as a witness to their life and capture everything for future generations of lovers of photography to enjoy.
You can find amazing photographers both in Wallachia and at different places in Moravia. This includes but is not limited to Jindřich Štreit, Gustav Aulehla, Ostravian Viktor Kolář, or Jaroslav Pulicar who recently had an exhibition at Leica Gallery Prague. Still, I believe, that Jožka (a nickname that is used by all his friends) is the purest one of all. Not only is he a ‘pure Wallachian through and through’, but he is also a very perceptive photographer. An observer, who doesn’t take photos in secrecy but rather uses patience and emotion that can create beautiful photos in any situation of his fellow Wallachian countrymen. He truly has a gift and can fully use it.
Jaroslav Kučera, curator