Temples of the New Era

Jiří Šebek - Temples of the New Era

16. 5. - 10. 6. 2018

Jiří Šebek is a minimalist whose work focuses on photography of old Prague and details of modern architecture. In particular, he takes photos of commercial architecture for architectural studios and construction companies. He creates visually pure photographs which stand out in their graceful lines and perfectionist processing. The black and white concept of most of his photographs make the structure of the buildings being photographed stand out. In 2017, he won the Prague Grant in the Czech Press Photo contest for his project, Temples of the New Era.


Basic information

Temples of the New Era
Author: Jiří Šebek
Venue: Large exhibition hall Czech Photo Centre
Dates: 16 may 2018 - 10 june 2018
Opening hours: tu - fr: 11 - 18 / sa - su: 10 - 18
Entrance fee: 80 CZK / 40 CZK

Temples of the new Era is a counterpart to Jiří Šebek’s previous work. In this new series, he works even more with the principles of precision, minimalism and purity of his shots. The author rarely finishes his series, because architectural contrasts is an area which is constantly developing and transforming.

The first photographs in the Temples of the New Era series were taken in spring 2016 when the author had a clear visual idea for rendering modern architecture. His original plan involved modern buildings from around the world. Šebek is always focused on taking photos of the attributes of old Prague, and this led to the idea of forming a separate modern architecture series within Prague.

From the very beginning, the series utilised a square format with long exposure times, with a range of dark tones and contrasts. Šebek aimed to capture the dynamism of moving clouds, balanced by static and austere buildings. The Temples of the New Era series does not document Prague’s transformations, and nor does it aim to map the course of constructions. The series provides artistic interpretations of Prague’s modern buildings, targeted so they can be viewed independently yet systematically add to the whole. Each building has a particular shape, making it irreplaceable within the series. “New” is a synonym for modern for the author, and he includes buildings constructed in the 1970s and 1980s in this term. An example of this is the Empiria, formerly Motokov, building which stands at Pankrác and was constructed between 1975 and 1977.

The author does not give an opinion on each work of architecture; he endeavours to capture the entire essence and identity of each building. He gives the viewer space, and the opportunity to contemplate the buildings and photographs separately. Thus one is not dependent on the other. “I think the building itself, such as Crystal at Želivského metro station, may not fit into the urban environment, yet it does allow for an exceptional photograph to be produced,” explains photographer Jiří Šebek.

For most photographs, Jiří Šebek uses the Fujifilm X-T2 camera, with some taken with the better medium-format resolution Fujifilm GFX 50s. All photographs are taken with a long exposure time. Special ND filters were used. Exposure time was 3-6 minutes even on sunny days.

This involved the direct exposure of traditional RGB photo paper, in which the exposure principle is very similar to a plotter, but instead of the ink head, a LED diode head travels above the paper in complete darkness, exposing the traditional colour positive photographic paper in rows. Chromira 50 can work with resolutions of up to 425 PPI and colour depth of 36 bits (12 bits/channel).

The photograph is subsequently processed using the RA-4 chemical process. Fujicolor Crystal Archive paper is used. This colour paper based on silver halide guarantees perfect colour reproduction and exceptional image stability.

The photograph is then laminated in a 3 mm Dibond-plate and then coated with the special UV-stabilised clear Art Resin. This must be applied in a completely dust-free environment. The technician wears a white coat with a mask on his face, as the tiniest of specks would be seen on the print. This precision means that the result is a highly effective gloss surface which gives the photograph high depth, colour and sharpness.

Main partners: Alza.cz, Fujifilm
Partners: Peak Design, AutoŠebek, Audio 440