I have a patience for books. I love books. I love to visit small second-hand shops and search for old interesting books. Kanda in Tokyo is amazing place for it.
With a great pleasure I enter their doors and interrupt quietness of those shops, greet the old man behind the counter and go silently through dust covered photo books.
Just sometimes I am strong enough not to buy at least one….
More then that however, I love to create photo books which say stories about people’s lives. My last book is called “Horikazu-Lifework of Japanese tattoo master from Asakusa in Tokyo” (2012, Edition Reuss), heavy coffee book which is a result of 5 years of effort to cover a work of prominent underground Japanese tattoo master, his clients and whole underground scene of Asakusa (can be purchased here).
Earlier book I published is “Tattoo in Japan” (201o, Edition Reuss), which shows a scale of tattoo art in Japan and feature work of number of tattoo masters. (Can be purchased here).
My name is Martin Hladik, I am Tokyo based Czech photographer & videographer.
My main office is in Tokyo, however you will be able to find in Prague more often from now on. The best way to get in touch in Prague is (+420)-603-553-403 or through Frontier Production (+81)90-7170-0941 in Tokyo.
Between commercial assignments I enjoy taking street snapshots of people, culture events and festivals and instead of loading a van by heavy lights, I love to grab my rangefinder Yashica and just go out to meet and photograph people. My interest is slowly returning to the point where I started-street.
I always felt to be a messenger who records stories about lives of other people, other countries, other environments.
My commercial work varied from advertising or campaign’s posters for heavy industry corporate clients, portraits of music celebrities for their tour promos or DVD covers or a video footage recordings for promotion or documentary movies. Especially video assignments are often request of my current clients.
My work was interrupted by the Great Japan Earthquake in March 2011. I visited and covered for foreign media the most-affected places, cities polluted by crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. Seeking to captured the immensity of the tragedy and the gradual progress of the recovery, as usually I mainly focused on people, their moods and attitudes. It led to solo exhibition in FCCJ to bring awareness of foreign media back to radiation polluted prefectures of Japan.
My devotion to photography started through my friendship with an excellent Czech photographer Pavel Stecha. He bought me first camera (Pentax K1000) while lecturing in USA back in 1980s and smuggled it to communist Czechoslovakia, where such products were scarcely available.
I begun my career as an assistant of Antonin Kratochvil, another great Czech documentary photographer and co-founder of Agency VII in New York. He tough me how to photograph portraits of celebrities while working in NY and how to choose and make prints for his clients.
( My images about people on the edge of NY society has been awarded in Czech Press Photo, 1999 ).
After returning to Czech, I covered post-war Kosovo for Charitas.
Loosing my dreams in devastated country, I decided to cover happier events of human society.
When I arrived to Tokyo in 2000, I established a photo agency, mainly covering news and Japanese cultural events, home-pages Tattoo in Japan to cover traditional Japanese tattoo art as well as whole Tokyo underground society.
This work got number of my images to museums:
Musée du Quai Branly –“TATOUEURS, TATOUÉS” (May/2014-July/2015, Paris, France)
Royal Ontario Museum –“Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art.” (April-September/2016,Toronto, Canada)
The Field Museum – “Tattoo” (October/2016-April/2017, Chicago, USA)
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County – “Tattoo” (Los Angeles, USA) exhibition is open through April 15, 2018.