Black and White photo 'Vrchárske Portréty III' (Highland Portrait).
photoDr. Ivan Meňhart
Where: Dom Kultúry, SNP námestie.
When: Exhibit runs until February 15 seven days a week from 10:00 til 18:00.
Tickets: Admission free.
Amateur work suceeds well in photography because it is an art form more heavily based on equipment and learnable rules than on a technique or innate ability required for, say, painting or music. Moreover, a large part of the battle is in finding situations that are somehow stimulating, which the amateur photography exhibition Amfo a Diafoto does quite successfully.
Currently on display at Dom Kultúry on SNP námestie, Amfo a Diafoto is a diverse collection of spirited amateur work from Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Some photos are funny, some boring, some moving, and some cliché. Above all else variety abounds, especially since no specific theme was imposed on the more than 200 photographs on display.
Many of the pictures are just plain funny. One man of suspect sanity talks into a piece of bread that looks like a phone; two other men converse, or so it appears, about a giant underwear advertisement in the background.
There are probably more nature photos than anything else, the best of which are mountain landscape shots from Slovenia. There is also an unfortunately healthy dose of hackneyed pictures such as birds in flight and still lifes of fruit. Many of the pictures are situationally driven, like my favourite, a hilarious photograph by Czech Vladimir Pokorný depicting a laughing women standing behind a shattered window entitled Optimism.
While there is at least one dud for every wonderful picture, there are surprisingly many excellent, attention-grabbing photos. And because they are mixed into rather sorted categories, when a viewer sees a picture that does not suit his fancy, the next one is likely to be drastically different.
The main theme that emerges from the exhibition is that there are as many ways to view the world as there are people interested in doing so. In some ways, this random theme creates an exhibition more interesting than it would were it featuring a single artist or focus.
The variety also provides interesting contrasts between each photo. After contemplating for a moment a colour shot from Brno with a crucifix in the foreground and a nuclear power plant in the background, I was delighted to move one picture to the right and find a black and white of several people standing around a donkey that had fallen down and appeared to have no intention of getting up.