Biography of Pavel Baňka
Pavel Baňka is a Czech photographer, teacher, curator and writer. His photographs depict a dream-like world filled with poetically beautiful compositions that often balance portraits of women with geometric elements. The surrealist movement was a great inspiration for him, influencing his fascination with the inner, spiritual mind and imagination. Pavel Baňka also employs an abstract-like sensibility in much of his works and utilizes a variety of motifs. He often uses props as an extension of his subjects, adopting objects to symbolize their mood and nature.
Born in 1941 in Prague, Pavel Baňka decided to dedicate himself to photography in 1968, after initially choosing a career in civil engineering. He is entirely self-taught and cites Czech artistic traditions and his home city—a crossing point between the east and the west—as a profound impact on his work. “Czech photographers received influences from both sides and created a new, special version of surrealism and dadaism. There also is a lot of lyricism and symbolism in our work.”
Alongside his artistic endeavors, Pavel Baňka teaches at institutions across the Czech Republic, United States and the United Kingdom. In 2002 he co-founded FOTOGRAF magazine which he still manages to this day. Exhibitions of his work have been held at the House of Photography in Prague, Alan Klotz Gallery in New York and the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. His work is held many collections including: Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium; George Eastman House, New York; Art Institute of Chicago and Paris Audio Visual.