Pavel Štecha (1944–2004) definitely did not want to change the world with his photographs. He was, instead, interested in leaving reports or, to be more precise, making a personal commentary on events he witnessed. The role of commentator enabled him to take a clear stand both on the events themselves and on society in general. As a commentator he could be someone who participated yet at the same time stood aside. The aloofness that one can sense in his photographs corresponds to his lifelong outlook and reflects his personality. Behind his individualism there was, however, a clear effort to capture the behaviour of contemporary society. With the help of the particular language of photography,
the language of symbols, he sought to find for himself and the viewers of his photographs some kind of imaginary definition of ‘Czechness’. Štecha was an analyst; he had a keen sense of making a point, both as part of each photograph and when making large thematic sets. Exploring the ability of photography to communicate an idea was, after all, his lifelong interest, and not only as a photographer. In that sense, he also sought to influence his students. It is most likely thanks to his efforts to achieve precision of expression that even today we can learn something about ourselves from his photographs.
Michal Hladík, September 2015