Untitled, 1950 - 1980 by Miroslav Tichý
What's so interesting about an old blotchy photo of a woman's face? It's a photograph taken by Miroslav Tichý, one of the greatest "finds" of unknown artists who worked on the fringe of the art world.
Tichý was born in 1926 in what is now the Czech Republic and studied painting at the Academy of Art in Prague until one day in the 1960s he was thrown in prison camp for no particular reason other than that he was "different" and was considered subversive. Eight years later, he was released and spent his days taking photos of women - at times surreptitiously while they were sunbathing (which landed him in trouble with the police when he got caught).
But that's not why he's on Neatorama: it's how he took those photos. Tichý couldn't afford a camera, so he cobbled one up from tin cans, children's spectacle lenses and other junks on the street!
Link | Miroslav Tichý's photos at Michael Hoppen Gallery | Tichý with his homemade cameras at his official website
Yes, he did have a soviet camera. However, for his kind of shooting, he needed a tele lens. He made lenses from plexiglass, polishing them with toothpaste. He would also refuse the equipment he was given.
To Tim Giachetti:
You speak like a "citizen". Tichy is an artist. He does not care for your labels. In fact, he was considered a crazy person by his fellow communist citizens. Twice a year the secret police would take him to an asylum to "normalize".
You can read more at http://www.americansuburbx.com/2010/04/theory-miroslav-tichy-tarzan-retired.html
He still had to buy film and chemicals to process it (unless there's another story how he made film and chemicals himself from dirt on the streets).
Overall, imho, this is just a nice story attached to a few messed up images with some nods towards pictorialism.
But since some "artists" deemed this as "art", well I guess it definitely has to be "art".