Prof. Mgr. Pavel Dias
PAVEL DIAS (born 1938) is one of the most important Czech photographers and professors
of photography. He has taught at many major photographic schools, including FAMU and Tomas Bata University, where he teaches until today.
With his camera, Dias captured many significant moments in the Czechoslovak history
of the second half of 20th century, including the funeral of Jan Palach, a sadly famous victim of Communism (1969) and the Velvet Revolution (1989). He cooperated with leading Czech magazines and the film industry. In his documentary photography cycles, Dias often deals with the topic of Judaism and the Holocaust.
In 2008 he received the prize "Personality of the Czech Photography" awarded by the Association
of Photographers of the Czech Republic.
The creative chord of every artist starts to be tuned already in juvenility. The strong sensations that we face during childhood, along with the subsequent experiences, herald the meaningfulness of our future actions. Eliška Blažková in her girlhood often visited the beautiful Jewish quarter in Třebíč – her home town, which today is one of the best preserved Jewish monuments in the world. This place is a precious reminder of our lost neighbors, who in the past greatly participated in the formation of the collective history of our nation. Eliška Blažková in her photography project "HAREDIM" brings back the orthodox Jewish culture into the former Trebic "ghetto".
Her path to this outcome was not easy. After the professional and human training, that Eliška gained during her studies at Bezalel Academy in Israel, she created a high quality and strongly human set of black and white photographs. She had to overcome many obstacles in the law of Halakha, that is fundamentally respected by the Jewish believers. As a matter of fact, in the tradition of Judaism "one may not make an image of a person, the creature of God". (Shulchan Aruch ibid, Taz 8. / Based on this shita, many orthodox Jews are careful not to have their pictures taken.) It is astounding that as a woman, non-Jewish woman, Eliška was accepted by the residents of the most conservative ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in the world – the neighborhood of Mea Shearim, Jerusalem.
Her photographs are admirably natural, fresh and full of human respect. In these images we can hear the echoes of history, that has been so tragic for the humanity. There used to be thousands of such little towns, villages and neighborhoods, that lived their lives until the World War II. These places, together with six millions of our Jewish brothers and sisters, were devoured by the Holocaust.
An image may be a produkt of deep cognition and powerful cultural-aesthetic experience. This exhibition undoubtedly is a great example of such a work. Eliška's receptivity and diligence resulted in this masterpiece, which makes us – teachers of photography at Tomas Bata University – very happy.
Prof. Mgr. Pavel Dias
Třebíč, 12th April 2012
Written for the occasion of the inauguration of Eliška Blažková's exhibition of HAREDIM (Rear Synagogue, Třebíč, 12th April 2014), which was opened by Prof. Pavel Dias (shortened version).