23.10. – 30.10.2015
The retrospective of Jindřich Štreit in the Soiz gallery shows black and white works from the 1970s and 1980s of the rural life in villages in North Moravia and photographs of homeless people taken in 2015. Although Štreit now takes colour and digital photographs, his observation of people remains unchanged even after 40 years.
The Bruntál region was one of the most underprivileged and impoverished regions of Czechoslovakia under the communist regime. From the mid-1960s, Jindřich Štreit worked there as a teacher and in the 1970s began to document the life of this region which was influenced by poverty and alcohol. He photographed the village people in everyday situations – at celebrations and work, eating and watching TV, on the village street and in the cemetery. Because of these photographs, he was accused in 1982 of defaming the regime and sentenced to many months of imprisonment. After his release he was banned from taking photographs and from teaching.
Although his photographs show village life authentically, Jindřich Štreit has never compromised the local residents. He says, 'A photographer has to be somewhat humble and have an inner empathy for people.'
The photographs of the homeless in Opava, Ostrava, Prerov, Brunn and Sumperk were taken in winter 2015 for the 25th anniversary of the Czech Salvation Army – usually the only chance of shelter in a country which largely ignores its homeless. The series was a travelling exhibition aimed at condemning the lack of social housing and was shown, among other places, in Prague and Opava.