Pavel Banka was born in 1941 in Prague, Czech Republic where he lives and works. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the International Center of Photography, NY; Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Musee de L’Elysee, Switzerland & Museum Ludwig, Cologne. He has had many shows throughout Europe and the United Statces including a major career retrospective at the prestigious Rudolfinum Museum in Prague in 2001.
Pavel Banka has worked in many directions over the years; from drawing with light and layering multiple strobe exposures to straightforward documentary prints with objects added later and rephotographed, to a series of self portraits of him with his images. Some of his best work is figures, usually nude women, shot in the studio with simple props--the prints are beautifully split toned. He uses unusual objects in a sensuous way-a metal spring or bar gently touching (or almost touching) a face or breast. His sensitivity to light in the studio is extreme and often the figure seems to have a glow or halo-an aura. He says that to him the pictures are nostalgic because eventually the model will age and die, they are records of a moment that is passing. His most recent series is pictures of Terezin, a concentration camp near Prague, they are large empty rooms that hold the memory of human presence.