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Mummies of the World European premiere Prague

Mummies of the World European Opening Prague

Mummies of the World is an exhibition displaying mummies. It also displays artefacts and fates of the mummified from around the world. It opened for the first time in Europe on February 1st 2018 in Prague. The exhibition displays genuine mummies and artifacts from Egypt, South America, Germany, Hungary and other countries. Part of the exhibition displays MUMAB Experiment from Baltimore, which took place in 1994. At the end of the exhibition, mummies from Czech museums are presented.

Thanks to organiser for the kind invitation and opportunity to photograph selected parts of the exhibition.

Tennis Champions 2016

In mid November I attended the 9th edition of Tennis Chamipons Exhibition in Bratislava. This year’s line-up consisted of WTA Champion from Singapore Dominika Cibulkova, Swiss rising star Belinda Bencic, Czech and Slovak Davis Cup heroes Radek Stepanek and Dominik Hrbaty, as well as first class tennis entertainers Yannick Noah and Mansour Bahrami. Some of my photos from the event appeared in the articles on WTA Tennis.com and Tennis.com.

Cosmos Discovery Bratislava Grand Opening

In September I was fortunate to attend the grand opening of Cosmos Discovery in Bratislava, Slovakia. Cosmos Discovery is currently the largest exhibition dedicated to space exploration in the world. The highlights of the exhibition include Gemini and Sojuz capsules, Apollo landing module, various space suits, as well as various personal items of astronauts. Perhaps the most precious item is the engine part of Saturn V rocket, that was recently recovered and restored. Visitors can see the authentic part of Saturn V for the first time outside the United States. The exhibition lasts from September 12th, 2016 until mid-January 2017.

Gateway to Space Exhibition

In June 2015, I photographed the Gateway to Space exhibition in Prague. This exciting exhibition maps the achievements of space exploration from the early days to present times. There were severa scaled-down and full scale models, including the Space Shuttle cockpit, sections of MIR space station and several space suits.

Last days of Tutankhamun in Slovakia

Since mid-August 2014, Bratislava has hosted the world-famous exhibition dedicated to pharaoh Tutankhamun. Thanks to great success, the exhibition was extended twice – the last day of exhibition was re-scheduled to January 17th, 2015.
The exhibition is a story of two men. The first one is Tutankhaten – a young pharaoh who re-established Amun as the only Deity in Egypt during his short reign. As a result of this act, he changed his name to Tutankhamun (the living image of Amun). When he died at the age of 19, he waited in the darkness of his tomb for more than 3300 years. His discoverer was Howard Carter – an English archaeologist and Egyptologist, who uncovered Tutankhamun’s intact tomb in 1922 after 7 years of digging in the Valley of Kings.
I visited this exhibition twice. Here are my 24 photos from this beautiful and enlightening exhibition. They were all made during my second visit. (I also posted these photos with a bit more Slovak narrative on Dennik N)

The treasures of entrance room

The treasures of entrance room

Burial chamber with photo projection

Burial chamber with photo projection

 

The “mess” of treasure room

The “mess” of treasure room

The wall of burial capsule

The wall of burial capsule

The detail of stone sarcophagus

Stone Sarcophagus Detail

The statuette of a small coffin

The statuette of a small coffin

The outer coffin

The outer coffin

The middle coffin

The middle coffin

The cover of inner coffin

The cover of inner coffin

Tutankhamun’s burial mask, as seen at the exhibition

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Tutankhamun’s visage

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The face of Tutankhamun

The face of Tutankhamun

Tutankhamun’s mask and sunstar

Tutankhamun’s mask and sunstar

One of Tutankhamun’s boats (a scaled down model)

One of Tutankhamun’s boats (a scaled down model)

A treasure case with Anubis statuette (the God of Afterlife)

A treasure case with Anubis statuette (the god of Afterlife)

Statuettes of Tutankhamun

Statuettes of Tutankhamun

Statuettes of Tutankhamun – a detailed view

Statuettes of Tutankhamun – a detailed view 1

Statuettes of Tutankhamun – a detailed view 2

 Tutankhamun’s chariot – used for parades

Tutankhamun’s chariot – used for parades

Tutankhamun’s chariot – a detailed view

Tutankhamun’s chariot – a detailed view

The statuette of Sopdu (God of the Sky)

The statuette of Sopdu (god of the Sky)

Tutankhamun’s canopic jar

Tutankhamun’s canopic jar

Vesebt’s (Pharaoh’s servants)

Vesebt’s (Pharaoh’s servants)

Tutankhamun with blue crown

Tutankhamun with blue crown

Tennis Classic 2013 – The Twilight Edition

Yesterday, I attended the 6th annual Tennis Classic Exhibition in Bratislava. This year’s participants were the former leader of WTA Ranking Martina Hingis from Switzerland, the French ATP tennis players Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils and the Slovak tennis star Daniela Hantuchova.

Because of the odd choice of lighting, I gave it a nick name “The Twilight Edition”. The lights were a lot dimmer than usual and they also used various colored spotlights. This created an intimate and visually interesting atmosphere for the fans, but it was a nightmare to shoot it due to darkness, changing lights and changing white balance.

The exhibition consisted of three matches and a charity auction. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils played the first singles match. Tsonga won the match in three sets. Daniela Hantuchova and Martina Hingis then played the short singles game. Hingis won the match 11:9. The traditional auction took place during the intermission. All players donated their autographed racquets, apparel and various other prices. The proceedings will support various charitable causes.

The mixed doubles was the last match of the exhibition. Even though Daniela and Martina started with their chosen partners, they ended up playing together and won the match. During the match, all players had microphones on them. I must say I’m not a fan of this “feature”. A lot of times, the words players say are pretty much inaudible. Two years ago, all the talking was downright annoying. This year it was surprisingly natural and it wasn’t very distracting. The hightlight of the mixed doubles was Daniela Hantuchova playing the piano.

My favorite photos from the event are below (click on the photos to see larger versions) and the whole gallery can be seen on my Slovak blog: http://hutera.blog.sme.sk/c/343916/Tennis-Classic-2013.html.

Martina Hingis, Daniela Hantuchova, Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
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Martina Hingis and Daniela Hantuchova
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Gael Monfils, Chair Umpire of the match Michal Varmus and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
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Daniela Hantuchova playing the piano
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Charity auction
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Nocturnals in the Light of the Day

This weekend, I attended the 7th annual Fotopark Exhibition, held in Bratislava. As the title says, it’s a photo exhibition held in a park. I covered the last year’s edition and my rather surprising win in the last year’s report.

A slight change of the scenery

The exhibition is traditionally held in a big park on the waterfront of the river Danube. A few weeks prior to the exhibition, Bratislava suffered a large-scale floodings. Because of this, the exhibition was moved to the less affected part of the waterfront. There were around 50 photographers showcasing their work. A different setting and a smaller amount of photographers resulted into the intimate atmosphere of the event.

You can’t please everybody

Last year, the jury said I should focus more on the night photographs, since not many people do that. I took their advice and put together a portfolio of night and twilight photographs I captured earlier this year:

The Night of Wonders
Purple Nights
The Wheel of Time
Obscured by Clouds
On The Cross-Road
Twins

During the day, I talked with quite a few people who were quite taken with my collection. I was the only one who showcased this kind of photos. I got lots of technical questions which I tried to answer as clearly as possible. I hope I inspired at least some of the visitors to try it themselves, even though it’s quite hard to get the night photos you’re at least partly happy with.
When the jury came to evaluate my work, they said something in line of “yeah, it’s quite good, better than last year, but we’d like to see something more extreme”. They were talking about the ridiculously visible Milky Way photos, that are very popular these days (That might change soon. Ian Plant has a different opinion about them). I answered this kind of phots are almost impossible to get in western Slovakia because of light pollution. I’m also not a big fan of “unrealistic” photos that are obtained by using astro-trac for several minutes to capture the Milky Way and then blended together with the regular twilight photo. The jury’s answer was “but the viewer doesn’t care about these things”. I guess you can’t please everybody.

Landscapers rule

Last year I wrote about the position of landscape photography in Slovakia. I have a feeling most professional jurys consider landscape photography as a second-class “art” that’s just there to please amateurs and uninitiated. The jury’s primary argument is, that there’s so much landscape photography in the world that no one’s original anymore. The competition is simply too great and therefore it’s pointless to showcase photos that aren’t unique, out-of-this-world etc. I’m very happy to report that the photo set that received most votes awarded by the visitors were landscapes. The jury also awarded the honorable mention award to the photographer who presented his mountain photographs from High Tatras National Park. Perhaps this is a sign of changing times and over time landscape photography will eventually get more recognition.

Final thoughts

Seven years is a long time. I’ve made a tremendeous progress since the first edition and I’m always looking forward to see complete strangers admiring my humble efforts and talking with about my photos. I’m not sure what I’ll be exhibiting next year, but perhaps I should make an effort to seek out another exhibitions and try something new in addition to this traditional exhibition.

Me with my collection of photographs. Photo courtesy of Andrea Hulalova
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Tennis Classic 2012 – Novak Djokovic vs. Martin Klizan and a bit of insanity

Yesterday I had a chance to attend the 5th annual Tennis Classic exhibition in Bratislava, Slovakia. The line-up for the main singles match was very promissing – the current No. 1 and the winner of the London Masters Novak Djokovic agains the “Newcomer of the Year on ATP Tour” Martin Klizan. Both players are well known comedians. “Nole” Djokovic makes all sorts of pranks on fellow tennis players (both male and female) all the time. Martin Klizan is a player, who doesn’t hesitate to put on a colorful wig (after the successful Davis Cup tie) or large, colorful glasses and a hat (after winning a tournament). Naturally I expected a great show from both of them. Unfortunately, Martin probably left his sense of humor in the locker room yesterday. It seemed he was trying too hard to play regular tennis match (and beat the World No. 1), instead of entertaining the audience. On the other hand, Novak had a lot of funny lines, moments and impersonated several top male and female players (including Serena Williams). In the end, Novak Djokovic not only won sympathies of the sold-out arena, but also claimed the match in two sets 7:5, 6:3.

In the doubles match, Novak Djokovic teamed up with his long-time coach and former tennis player Marian Vajda and Martin Klizan was helped-out by the Slovak Davis Cup hero Dominik Hrbaty. Again, it seemed Marian and Novak enjoyed being on court so much more than Martin and Dominik. The “fun” potential of this exhibition match was enormous, however the evening wasn’t as great as I hoped.

Unfortunately, photographying the event was a nightmare. Apparently, the stars and the moderator weren’t instructed (or simply forgot) there was a booth full of photographers and camera men, who’d love to capture all the official ceremonies. We spent the evening looking at their backs instead. I sincerely hope this won’t happen next time.

The insane moments (I’d dare to call it a momentary lapse of reason) came during the intermission, when the traditional auction of tennis memorabilia took place. The audience bids for tennis rackets and apparel, that was autographed by the stars of the exhibition night. The proceedings usually go to support charity foundations that support underpriviledged kids’ sporting activities and the bids usually end up being several thousand Euros high. Yesterday, the battle for Novak Djokovic’s gear ended at mind-numbing 40 000 Euros. I’m all for supporting a worthy cause, but I honestly cannot wrap my mind around the fact somebody paid so much for a racket, two shirts and a seat in Novak Djokovic’s box on 1 tournament of choice. On the other hand, maybe we’ll see many new tennis stars in the future beause of this generous donation and something tells me the elderly gentleman, who won the auction, will recover rather quickly…

You can find more than 50 photos from Tennis Classic 2012 on my blog: http://hutera.blog.sme.sk/c/313322/Tennis-Classic-2012.html and a selection of my favorite photographs below.

I came, I saw, I left, I won – a report from last week’s park exhibition

Last saturday (23rd june) I attended the 6th annual public exhibition “Fotopark”, held in Bratislava, Slovakia. It was also the 6th time I displayed my work. The name basically says it all – its an exhibition held in park and anyone can show up, register and display their work. The exhibition is a success every year. Despite the pre-vacation date, a lot of photographers show up with their work. I believe the second edition had over 100 collections on display. In order to make things attractive, there are several prizes for the attendees – the prize awarded by grand jury, several prizes awarded by sponsors of the event and of course the prize awarded for the most public votes. The vote is cast by awarding the official red laundry pin to the selected photo. Everybody wants to win of course, but for me, the purpose of the day is to show my work, meet with people I made an effort to invite and of course talk to random people that stop and look at my photos. My report from this eventful day consists of several parts:

I came
The exhibition was held on the same place like every year. The waterfront next to a beautiful park always provides a nice setting. However, the weather wasn’t very co-operative and we had a sky full of heavy rain clouds that would love to destroy every print on display. The weather forecast was not good, which is probably the reason many photographers didn’t show up. In fact I believe this edition had the least amount of exhibiting photographers. Still, plenty of photographs were hung on the nets between the trees. The weather changed to sunny in the afternoon, so the prints weren’t destroyed like in 2009 when it rained all day. I chose to exhibit the following photographs:
Resting Under Stars
First Stars
Hovering
Blooming Tree, Stormy Evening
The Sage
Celestial Meeting
Southern Sky
First Light, First Snow
Heart of Fall

My portfolio was made of two parts – the “normal” part consisted of four landscapes captured during the day or golden hour and the “twilight” part that showed some night time landscapes. “We’d like to see more of these night time photos”, said the grand jury last year, so I provided 5 this year.

I saw
Despite the smaller turnout, I saw plenty of photographs from every possible genre. The bittersweet part was the amount of people displaying landscape photographs. There were only few of us, which probably underscores the bitter truth about landscape photography in Slovakia – that it’s probably a thing for “the little people”. The lanscapes were appreciated by the public, they asked me quite a lot of questions, we talked about places, techniques, the light. But most people involved in photography show little or no appreciation for the countless hours spent in the mud, freezing cold or walking several kilometers to capture something in various lighting conditions. I hope this will change one day because our small country in the heart of Europe offers many beautiful and extraordinary places that were unfortunately affected by the hand of man and in several years or decades, photos of these places will be all that’s left.

The hidden part – I heard
The grand jury made their comments. The night photographs were appreciated, because “not a lot of people do these”. I just smiled and thought to myself they should probably check the internet because there are a lot of great night-time photographer and my humble efforts simply does not match their excellent work. The day shots were commented as “pretty ordinary” The Heart of Fall, which had the most voting pins was commented as something “colorful for the people”. I agree, the fall colors are nice to look at and that was precisely the point why I made that photo. But I feel the color itself can very well be a subject of landscape photos and the vivid colors provided by the season is something people and photographers can and will appreciate. The last comment I got was “the landcape photographer has to pick his light”. This was aimed at some of my photos that had “less that wild light”. Time was a factor and the jury had to judge other collections as well, so I didn’t have the time to react. I believe the light can be as different as people’s personalities. Most people appreciate the fiery, wild sunsets (I’m of course one of them) but some might prefer a simpler, less colorful light. I try to capture as many forms of light as possible. This time, the colors were more subtle, but landscape photography is a life-time committment and sometimes, “the perfect light” just wasn’t provided. I’ll do my best to capture it next time though.

I left
One of the joys of the exhibition is to meet friends and other invited people and show them my prints officially. Of course this is also good for the voting part, since the more invited guests, the more votes for your work. Every year some of my friends and other show up, but I still get a lot of votes from total strangers. This year only my two friends and parents showed up. During the day, an unexpected oportunity appeared to present my work to someone I really wanted to see and who wasn’t able to attend the exhibition. The inner voice immediately made the decision. After the voting pins were collected, I packed my photos and left for a short visit and a private display of my photographic efforts. The grand jury was still commenting, but since I believed my chances were the same as every other year (that means slim or non-existent), I gladly left sooner to do something that meant a great deal to me.

I won
In the middle of short, private presentation, my phone rang. My friend, who was also displaying her very nice horse photos, called – my photos had the most public votes and that I’d won. I was a bit shocked, since it was the first time my photos won something. It was the nice ending of what turned out to be a nice day afterall.

A photo of my setup: