Michal Macku‘s work is definitely unique in the landscape of contemporary photography. In the era of digital photography, digital manipulation of the image and Instagram, his experiments with technique of gellage and carbon prints, his particular body images and glass objects, place him on the list of endangered species.
Michal Macku, a Czech photographer, graduated from the Technological Faculty of the Polytechnic Institute in Brno and the Institute of Art Photography, Prague. He began to make photographs in 1978. Being obsessed with the human body and the body imagery, he continues to explore and research the endless possibilities in photography. Michal Macku talks about his work:
I use the nude human body (mostly my own) in my pictures. Through the photographic process [of Gellage], this concrete human body is compelled to meet with abstract surroundings and distortions. This connection is most exciting for me and helps me to find new levels of humanness in the resulting work. I am always seeking new means of expression and, step by step, I am discovering almost unlimited possibilities through my work with loosened gelatin. Photographic pictures mean specific touch with concrete reality for me, one captured level of real time.
Michal Macku is widely known for his works using the technique named Gellage and his discovery of this unique process has cemented his name in the history of contemporary photography. The technique ‘Gellage’ consists of the transfer of exposed and fixed photographic emulsion onto paper. This transparent and plastic material makes it possible to reshape and reform the original images, changing their relationships and endowing them with new meanings during the transfer. Macku’s experiments include carbon prints (the carbon prints are sized approx. 35×30 cm (14×12”), on a top quality graphic watermark paper, stamped and signed and the edition of each motif is limited to 24 numbered copies) and the exquisite glass objects (the artist creates 3 D glass-photographic objects, the so called glass gellages).
His works place “body pictures” in new situations, new contexts, new realities, causing their “authentic” reality to become relative. I selected above some of my favorite images from artist’s portfolio. View more on Michal Macku’s website