Dagmar Hochová

Taking a break from posts on my reading, I thought I’d share something else I’ve been enjoying of late!

Dagmar Hochová (1926 – 2012) was a Czech photographer, working in the 1950s and 1960s. She travelled as far as Vietnam, Paris, Russia and Sweden, and is most famous for her photograph Against the Wall (Prague, 1960). proti-zdi-praha-1960-hochova-dagmar

I came across a collection of her photographs in Prague in January, and couldn’t resist buying this – 1520 (pictured below), a collection of pictures from a trip she took into Communist Russia, with her camera hidden beneath her coat for the majority of her journey! The book is named ‘1520’ because of the greater width between Russian railway tracks – as you cross the border into countries like Belarus, it is still necessary for the gauge to be adjusted before the train can continue, and Hochová captures something of the change in culture and ideas of life and spirituality in this collection of images. Dagmar_Hochova_1520

Most of her photographs portray images of everyday life and travel, with people as the main object of interest. Hochová was apparently interested in capturing something of what it is to be human in her photos – not always selecting the dramatic or extraordinary, but chronicling the periods of waiting, glimpses of suspicion, absent-minded, idle moments and the pastimes of the young. I love the way her photographs are so ordinary, and yet interesting. Many of the scenes have a familiarity that I would not have expected, given the period Hochová was working in, and how much things have changed since then. For a few more of her photographs and more biographical information, or details of where you can see her work exhibited, check out this Czech gallery.

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