Dan Materna

Dan Materna’s Czech Republic from a Plane through the Lens

16.1. - 1. 3. 2020

Czech Photo - CALENDAR
Opening hours:
Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday - Friday: 11 – 18
Saturday - Sunday: 10 – 18

Entrance fee:
80 Kč / 40 CZK

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Seydlerova 2835/4
Praha 5 (Nové Butovice)
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Photographer Dan Materna works for MAFRA publishers, where as well as ordinary editorial work – reports, profiles and sport – he focuses on taking photos of nature, and he has taken photographs of the Czech Republic from an aeroplane for more than 12 years. He takes photos of the beauties of the Czech Republic - the Šumava and Krkonoše mountains, ponds and lakes. In particular, he seeks out new perspectives on the Czech Republic, and civilisational transformations: satellite towns, yellow rapeseed fields, bark-beetle outbreaks and more.

“Most collections come about by plan, of course. I come up with a theme, and after agreement with the pilot we make a flight plan, and when the weather is suitable we fly to the specific chosen places. During the flight, I always look out of the window and look for new ideas. So some of the photographs come about by chance, such as my favourite photograph of the meadows behind a house studded with new garden swimming pools waiting for their purchasers. I call it “Pool Storage”, Or recently on our return from taking photos of the bark beetle epidemic around the Orlík reservoir, I saw some building plots near Prague on which lorries had created artistic rutted tracks. As soon as I see such a pattern, I shout at the pilot through my headphones microphone to circle around,” says Dan Materna of how he takes his photos.

His photographs have been taken from many types of plane, although most have been produced in co-operation with pilot Miroslav Kovář and his L200 Morava aircraft. The author is showcasing a collection of diverse bird’s-eye view images in the Czech Photo Centre gallery in Nové Butovice. The exhibition of almost a hundred unique images begins on 16 January and continues until 1 March 2020.

“Others would be holding tight onto their seats. Dan Materna holds tight onto his camera – and so his dizzying images can be enjoyed vertigo-free by people who otherwise suffer from vertiginous feelings of imbalance. Castles and palaces as if in a fairytale construction set. Lakes and ponds in a romantic haze, dreamy river confluences, but also unending murky flooded areas eliciting an almost pagan fear; every drop of water evokes its own ambience. Ordinary fields onto which curious images have been conjured up, surely only by Martians. A yellow army of rapeseed on the offence, the cool green of forests, the white lace of winter transforming even dull model suburbia with its incandescent touch. Mars is said to be the Red Planet, and Earth the Blue Planet, but in Dan Materna’s bird’s-eye photographs, the world has many more colours, shades and hues. Materna’s paintings from the air are unique, because these aren’t just imprints of reality, but paintings. Materna has a unique gift; teaching us to see the world differently. His dozens of photographs depict the landscape in all its forms. From infinite beauties of nature, civilised yet also brutally afflicted by human activity. From this unusual angle, you will see towns, civilisations, works of engineering, architecture, the events of daily life, and natural phenomena. In Dan Materna’s birds-eye photos, the world has many more colours. A yellow army of rapeseed on the offence, the cool green of forests and dull model suburbia. A red-hot carpet of fires. The steel grey of industrial warehouses, and one could go on and on,” says Head of the MF Dnes Culture Department, Mirka Spáčilová.

Dan Materna first took an interest in photography at elementary school. He studied photography at the Graphical Technical School in Prague. He is one of the top Czech photojournalists. He takes photographs for the MF Dnes and Lidové noviny newspapers and Téma magazine, published by MAFRA. Dan Materna’s photographs have won many awards, including Photograph of the Year in the Czech Press Photo contest. In 2007, he received the main Czech Press Photo Crystal Eye award for Photograph of the Year 2007 from the President of the Czech Republic for his photo, Child Seizure. Dan Materna is the author of the photography books Tajemství českého lesa/Secrets of Czech Forests (2009), Já, zlatý retrívr/I, Golden Retriever (2013), Rok s retrívrem/A Year with a Retriever (2017) and Česko z letadla/Czech Republic from a Plane (2015).


Exhibition : Dan Materna’s Czech Republic from a Plane through the Lens
Authors: Dan Materna
Place: Czech Photo Centre
Dauration: 16.1. - 1.3.2020
Vernissage: 15.1. at 6PM / free entrance Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 11 - 18 / Sat - Sun: 10 - 18
Entrance fee: 80 CZK / 40 CZK