Jirina Hribalova

Photography - BA (Hons)

I am a fine art photographer and researcher on photography based in Cambridge, UK. Through medium format portraiture, I am creating a narrative that talks about femininity and celebration of the natural environment, humans and the relationship inbetween. Merely, I shoot self-portraits on film.

I am passionate about working in the darkroom and creating handprints. In my research practice, I have been centring on feminism and feminist theory in culture as well as in photographic techniques. My dissertation looks at the technique of photomontage and how the visual language employed in collage in the early twentieth century expresses feminist values and how it has shifted into the twenty-first century. I am looking primarily at the Bauhaus and its practitioners, studying the women's social status regarding the arts between wars and during the Second World War. Recently I analysed the work of German photographer and artist Grete Stern and her Sueños; a series of montages ironically depicting the masculine view of women as significant figures of domestic life. When looking at contemporary art and its practitioners, I am examining Linder Sterling who is known for her radical feminist compositions. In October 2022, I will be taking an MA programme in Art History and Theory to achieve a more rounded art historical and theoretical background, alongside my practice as a fine art photographer.

In my photographic practice, I have been focusing on the body, nature, femininity, existentialism and the concept of freedom. My approach is grounded in Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Nausea’’, the series explores the meaning and gradations of human existence and put the emphasis on the abyss between presence and absence, being and nothingness. This takes the form of self-portraits. Merely, I have been shooting outdoors with an analogue medium format camera using a shutter release cable or assistance.

The initial inspiration point is Francesca Woodman; an American photographer documenting herself or female models, merely using black and white medium format film producing square negatives. Her photographs explore many themes, such as relationships, sexuality or questions of self. I have been strongly affected by her visual language and the art of catching atmosphere which I believe lies in the use of medium format film camera. From Francesca Woodman to Nina Röder, a German photographer, whose work introduced me to Jean-Paul Sartre, Röder’s significant influence. Sartre was a well-known French philosopher of the twentieth century. Finally, Sartre's novel helped me to develop and define the narrative I was looking for.