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The Home Land,
the Land of the Heart

A short stop over Antonín Kostka’s photographs

Antonín Kostka is a passionate photographer and an active and tireless organizer of photographic life in Brumov-Bylnice for many years. And, most incredibly, for 40 years, he has steadily photographed the landscape of the White Carpathians, especially the Vlárský Pass. There are constant returns, an admirably persistent mapping of that small, beautiful piece of our country. It is an admirable fidelity to the subject, coupled with the desire to capture and preserve the vanishing and endangered. Love for nature dominates to his whole life. Yes, the theme of his photographs has not changed for years, his handwriting is reliably recognizable, and yet those pictures are not a boring repetition of the same: it is not only thanks to the infinite changes of the landscape, the weather and the light, but the author’s discovering view of the world is also a big part of it.

Antonín Kostka is a man who can walk countless kilometers through the night forest to see the sun rise above the hill or find the full moon somewhere above the forest clearing. He can wait for hours in cold humidity for the few moments when a majestic deer appears in the tall grass at the edge of the forest - but he does not want to fire at it, and many times he does not trigger the camera either. He is waiting to experience something rare to himself. He shares his feelings from this moments. His photographs are a rare testimony to the landscape, how it changes through alternation of the seasons, in the course of timeand in the changes of light.

Not everyone is able to catch the landscape in the fog of clouds or the meadow, adorned with jewels that are unprecedented but fleeting beauty - before the sun rises to drink the cups of the dew. How much poetry is in that... Yes, it’s the poetry of early mornings in the cold darkness, the poetry of walking of numerous kilometres, the poetry of drenched shoes, sweaty shirts and drenched sweaters. This is the destiny of the landscape photographer, whilst the rest of us can only stop for a while and sunk ourselves in his photographic poems. They are simple, but very impressive because they speak of heart-seeing, a real experience of meeting the home landscape.

Antonín Kostka is a photographer who, for his technically brilliant photographs, does not need expensive supermodern, electronically cluttered instruments, nor overlaid postcard colors. He is faithful to classic black and white painting by light. Although he is a very good photographer, he is probably not one of those who can make a fancy shot from anywhere. The secret of the impressiveness of his photographs is, above all, the true passion and humility with which he approached the theme that has become his mission. The secret is in the depth of his own experience of home country which is one of the pillars of a fair relationship to life and to the world.

Jan Tluka


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