From the 1950s to 1986, Tichy took thousands of surreptitious photogrpahs in and around Kyjoy, in the Czech Republic. With his wild hair and ragged clothes, locals viewed him as a harmless eccentric, but in many ways his art can by seen as a subversive act in response to a totalitarian regime.
Orginally a student at Prague's Academy of Fine Arts, Tichy was regarded as a promising modernist painter until the imposition of Communist rule in 1948, when the authorities insisted its students followed Social Realist modes. Tichy refused and quit the faculty, thought the regime kept him under surveillance and made periodic attempts to 'cure'him, forcing upon him short stay in psychiatric facilities. In the 1950s, he began to focus on photography, using an array of crude homemade camers.
Tichy's hometown became his studio, and as in an academy life-drawing class, female bodies became his subjects. As Harald Szeeman, the first curator to take an interst in Tichy, explains, 'The more you look, the less naive it becomes; when you listen to what he says, what fun he has in breaking all the rules, without giving a damn about the results.'
Born in Czechia on November 20th, 1926
Died in Czechia on April 12th, 2011