I met Walter several years ago in Brno. He seemed a character and had good stories to tell. Unfortunately, he moved to Prague and from there back to the US. We kept in touch though via Facebook. Then, a few weeks ago I noticed him posting about returning to Brno so I reached out and we agreed to meet. Since then, we have shared a few evenings telling stories and laughing a lot.
But Walter is no ordinary person. He sees life in a different way to many and his way of looking at the world is through the lens of a camera. He is also an artist framing what he sees within his lens. His vision captures the humanity of his subjects and casts them mostly in a way that speaks of a sadness, a yearning for better. His pictures are exquisite and have rightly won him accolades and awards. In the USA, he is well known but here in Brno, where he is from – as is so often the case – he is not known. Not yet, anyhow.
Walter can tell some stories. Not just about life living in a communist country or a capitalist one. Not just about escaping one for the other but he can tell you about the people he photographed and met, the places that he looked at in his own way. Stories of David Bowie, Mick Jagger and many other household names. He told me recently that he had photographed over 150 bands and almost all of them globally known. Quite a feat.
Walter is still taking photos. It’s in his blood and his soul. He sees things others do not and is apt to capture them through his lens. On photographing famous people, he confided in me that capturing their flaws – their wrinkles, expressions, their faces when exhibiting passion or angst – was what he felt set him apart.
You can see more of Walter’s work at his own website and read his biography there too. He is available to take photos and is also of course, making a living selling his images. Many do. Many more see his images embedded into the Brno Sono Center as they attend a concert… but how many of them know the man behind those images?
Recently, he shot me too. His idea was amazing. He wanted to capture me at dusk as a Brno tram passed by. I had to stand perfectly still with guitar in hand as it was a long exposure. The effect is amazing.
If you would like to purchase one of his images or even have him do your photo shoot – please contact me here or him at his website – tell him Gary sent you.
All images posted with permission and copyrighted by Walter Novak.