Paul Ickovic

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Paul Ickovic
Photo by Jonathan Morse

Paul (Pavel) Ickovic was born  in 1944 in Kettering, England to Czech parents. He was thirteen when he emigrated with his family to the United States via Czechoslovakia and Colombia. . In 1962, he began to photograph and travelled to France, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, India, Nepal, and Hong Kong. A self-taught photographer, Ickovic came under the tutelage of Louis Faurer in the 1960’s. As an assistant of Henri Cartier-Bresson, friend of Josef Koudelka, his lineage is among the great documentary and street photographers, yet what he sees expresses the daring and heart that is his alone.

Ickovic’s books include In Transit, Safe Conduct, (foreword by Cornell Capa and an Essay by Vaclav Havel) and Kala’s Grave and Other Stories, a collaboration with Pulitzer prize winning author David Mamet. Ickovic’s photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; International Center of Photography, New York; National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Using only his Leica, one lens and black and white film, he reveals the ineffable – bizarre, tender and beautiful stories which arrive as apparitions.

One Thing Leads to Another. I am a curious animal. Why photography? For one it gives me the excuse to be anywhere anytime. That’s my job. The only continuous, consistent compass in my life. I am not interested in stories with a beginning and an end. I prefer the ambiguous terrain that sparks an emotion. I wonder what came before and after I enter the scene and trip the shutter. I don’t want to be living on a chess board analyzing my every move. Spontaneity and impulse are everything. Poker is more my game. Risk and chance whet my appetite, and that is how I extract nourishment.

— Paul Ickovic