In the member spotlight this month, I’m delighted to introduce you to Venca Jirousek, the photographer behind the beautiful peacock shot which won the October Autumn Colours Photo Contest hands down!
One of the things that I love about Oxford Photo Walk is that it’s a great way to meet new people. And, as this group is still really new, there’s still a lot about our members that we don’t know. It’s therefore my pleasure to share this interview with Venca. Read on to find out about his photography journey – from his early days messing around with CSI photo footage and developing photos in his bathroom, to following in the footsteps of Harry Potter!
Where are you from and how long have you been living in Oxford?
I am from the Czech republic, from a small town close to the German and Polish border. I have now been in Oxford for two and a half years.
What’s your story? How did you get into photography?
The story is quite long. My first camera was a standard 35mm point and shoot. I used it on holidays and I loved that surprise when the pictures came back from the photolab. The first DSLR I held in my hands was the Canon EOS 1D at my father’s work. He’s a CSI police technician, so takes photos of crime scenes, fingerprints etc. It’s funny, but every time I was there I wanted to play with his camera, even though there were photographs of dead people on the table. (I am serious, not kidding). Then my relatives had a 1.3MPx cameras which I borrowed, before I bought a Samsung P&S with semi-manual settings. But I wanted more depth of field, so I found my grandfather’s Praktica 35mm SLR and started shooting black and white photos, which I developed by myself. I made my bathroom into a darkroom because it was the only room without windows. So I have great memories of that toilet lid! And then I wanted more so I eventually bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D40.
What is your favourite subject to photograph?
Basically everything interesting. Mostly landscapes, because I love hiking. I also like nature photos, but love urban minimalism too, especially in London. It’s amazing. My secret love is candid pictures of people, but I don’t make them public. I’d really like to try fine art nude photography, but I don’t think I’m quite there yet.
What do you think is key to taking a good photo?
Be patient, fast and try to predict your scene. Sometimes that great scene is a matter of a single moment, and sometimes you have to wait for your dream shoot. Last time at Blenheim I was waiting for a pheasant (who was sitting on a branch) to spread his wings while the sun was shining on him during golden hour. I waited for 20 minutes, but he was still sitting, so I gave up. But of course the little rat then flew away within two seconds! The opposite way is to be fast. That photo of the peacock was actually a quick and a very lucky shot.
Where do you find your photography inspiration? What motivates you?
Honestly, I’m motivated by people who take better pictures than me. I want to be better and that pushes me forward. Fortunatey there are millions of photographers, so I will always try to do better.
Where in the world would you most like to photograph and why?
Everywhere. I can’t really choose just one place.
What is your experience of Oxford Photo Walk?
I have had only a little experience, but I love it. It makes me feel that I’m not alone, and I can talk about photography with people who actually understand what I’m talking about.
I’d like to thank Venca for sharing his story and a few of his favourite photographs with us. Are you as patient as Venca? How long have you waited for that perfect shot?
Like what you see?
Then you can see more of Venca’s work on the following platforms:
All the best,