Dan Materna

A Distillery

„It all started with a fairly ordinary construction photography assignment. A client wanted to document the premises, the brownfield where they were going to build.
On my first visit, I was captivated by the environment of the former Smíchov Distillery. Premises that have been abandoned for twenty years. A combination of chemical and industrial environment. A distillery. Laboratories. Warehouses. A Vinegar House. Offices. Workshops. Beauty in decay. I took advantage of the unlimited access to the premises. I went back to the Distillery many times and kept taking pictures. During my work I met David Černý, the sculptor who was as enthusiastic about the genius loci of the Distillery as I was. And while David was physically saving some of the artifacts to use in the contemporary interiors of the Distillery, I was seized by an uncontrollable desire to record everything.
First, I worked with the natural daylight that entered the distillery, vinegar house or laboratories through the broken windows and collapsed roofs. Then I also found underground spaces – a dark maze which was totally dark and there was no choice but to use artificial light. The shooting itself was one of an adrenaline adventure. Although I was using a torch, I often didn’t know exactly where I was stepping and at what point the rotting beams would fall through.“

After the exhibition is over and the construction is completed, the photographs will serve as permanent decorations in the reception areas of the individual apartment buildings.

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Dan Materna

Dan Materna worked as a photojournalist for a long time (1993-2021) photographing primarily people: portraits of celebrities, political, cultural and social events, and sport. During his many trips abroad to all corners of the world he documented important world events during his photography career. He has been known for dedicating 10 years to photographing Czech Republic from the air.

In 2007, he was awarded the Photographer of the Year prize and throughout his carrier has received many others. The photographer is also author of several photography publications.

Materna currently works at the Czech Photo Centre, organizes the Czech Press Photo competition and curates photographic exhibitions. His photographic work focuses mainly on commercial and advertising photography.