Despite the “shoebox” photos, Václav Bacovský took the heart of walking in the mountains and taking photos to heart

You like to take pictures in our region in the Jičín region and in the Bohemian Paradise. You come from this area, don’t you?
Yes, I came to the radio from the small village of Oruby, which is not far from Sobotka. So I actually live on the border of Hradec Králové and Central Bohemia, to be exact.

What brought you to photography?
Maybe a small coincidence. I’ve always loved looking at landscape photography, it was around the time of the advent of digital photography when I was in college. So I looked at online galleries, where photographers gave beautiful photos of the Bohemian paradise, for example, so I also wanted to have such photos. But I didn’t have a lot of money for a quality camera, so I had to save a bit and bought my first SLR camera. Coincidentally, I went to Italy at the time to study Italian. And I was very lucky that one of the speakers was a professional photographer. He took me under my wing a bit and I went with him to take pictures in the Dolomites, where he came from. And there, the association of walking in the mountains and taking pictures took me to the heart.

I like to carry heavy camera gear with me. The photographer could not be born better than today, because technology is incredibly advanced.

Vaclav Bacovsky, photographer and traveler

But is it interesting that your first workshop in Italy took place almost without a camera?
It was above all a language course, but I saw that there were workshops in the afternoon. And an interesting experience for anyone who wants to learn foreign languages, so the best way is to do something you really enjoy. So I went there with the understanding that we would be taking pictures while learning the language. But when I got there, I found out that we wouldn’t use the camera at all, that we had to make our own out of the shoebox. We did and it was a very special photoshoot. But absolutely brilliant, because I worked for the first and probably the last time in my life with analog media, with classic films, in a darkroom, developing images, and I experienced the miracle when a image suddenly appears to you there. It was a really interesting experience. By taking photos on a shoebox, we understand all the principles of photography.

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However, today is very favorable for photographers because everyone has a camera in their mobile phone.
It’s true, but I have to admit that I hardly ever take pictures with my cell phone. I’m in this old school way, I always have a camera with me, a DSLR camera. I may be an exception because I just like to bring relatively heavy camera gear with me. But as you say, the photographer could not be better born than today. Because technology is advancing incredibly and the equipment we have is phenomenal. And, in fact, at far better prices than photographers could have imagined in the 1990s.

In addition to your favorite region of Bohemian Paradise and Jičín, you also travel a lot around the world.
I had the chance to see the other side of the planet, New Zealand, Hawaii, Latin America, Patagonia. But I really like to travel around Europe. I have now returned from Tenerife in the Canary Islands. I really like taking pictures in Norway, especially the northern part behind the Arctic Circle, I regularly go to Oman, for example, which is a beautiful country. I really want to go back to Western Canada, so there are already a few corners of the world where I have taken pictures. But I always look forward to returning to bohemian paradise.

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Do you prefer to photograph the sun, the water and the sand or the cold, the rain and the green grass?
It’s a very difficult question. It can be both, I like when the landscape or the country is diversified. The Oman I just mentioned is really interesting, where you can just take pictures of something you won’t find here. Sand dunes, oases, palm trees and of course the sea. But the landscape of my heart is more of a mountain and a green landscape. Fantastic Norway and Canada are probably the most beautiful mountains I have ever experienced. There is a photo balm for the soul.

So the photographer is happy when he just plays with the colors and there is also the depth of the sky, the clouds etc.
We photographers sometimes say that we are very ungrateful for the weather. Because of course we want to have good weather, but that doesn’t mean blue skies. Azuro is the enemy of the landscape photographer, because then he lacks this depth a little. We want dramatic clouds, so paradoxically the best weather for photography is at the interface of a few showers and cold fronts. When the bad weather ends or begins, it’s true. That waits in the landscape, a light drama.

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Did you also have an adventure taking pictures?
Probably the biggest stress I experienced was losing a passport at the Argentina-Chile border, which is heavily guarded. The two states are not completely friends with each other, so there are a lot of checks. And it happened on Christmas Day, December 24, that I lost my passport in Argentina by my own mistake, leaving one of many backpacks at the bus stop. I realized it right away, but it was too late. Then I got very lucky after six hours at the police station, where no one spoke English and I had a hard time explaining to them in Spanish what had happened, so someone came over who waved my passport only to find it thrown in the trash. It was incredibly lucky. Probably such a big Christmas present.

Is photography your profession or your hobby?
Both, because very often I work as a guide for a travel agency, so it can be combined well. Not always, but very often. His travel agency also uses my photos. Now I’m going to the Faroe Islands, which are said to be one of the best photography destinations. Everywhere greenery, sheep, waterfalls, bad weather. I wonder how it will be. Certainly a great experience as a photographer.

Václav Bacovský in the studio of Czech radio Hradec Králové

Did you study anything in advance?
Of course, I have always selected places where you can take pictures when and how. Careful preparation is quite necessary for a photographer.

Photographer Václav Bacovský was our guest today. Thank you very much for your visit.

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