Fine Arts IV

The Fine Arts IV* studio, Critical Optics, deals with contemporary forms of artistic expression, departing from the shared experience of photography and video-making. It focuses on reflection on working with photographic, moving, digital, and media images, their dissemination and context, in relation to contemporary society and arts. We consider photography and video as important media primarily because of the ways in which contemporary artists and practitioners engage with them and how we think about them together. However, our studio is broadly intermedia-based. Creating a safe environment for experimentation with new practices and approaches plays an important role here.

Teaching at our studio is primarily based on discussions and presentations that relate to student work as well as chosen semester themes and projects. These are intended primarily to serve as inspiration and stimulus for the independent work of the students, who work on topics of their own choice.

* formerly known as Studio of Photography I


In today's art, photography plays a major role, having, at the same time, much more facets than any other artistic discipline. Photography is a moving thing. By abandoning the solid, fixed core one uncovers its greatest asset: a missing aesthetic pattern and multitude of rhetorical forms used to express facts, fiction and imagination. Today's photography is not just about capturing a moment or a fragment of reality - it is also about the artistic concepts used in doing so. Photography itself is changing constantly, resulting in significant shifts in its documentary character. When studying photography, one has to look at all of its aspects - photography as an artistic discipline, photography in amateur production, applied photography, etc. - and the mutual relations between them. Hence, the study of photography is both a study of an artistic discipline and a social phenomenon.

The main principles of studio are:

  1. Conceptual thinking: Ways of generating creative impulses, of defining the project at its outset and after its completion. A way of addressing issues and finding solutions.
  2. Craftsmanship itself should not be the ultimate target, yet still has to be one of the highest priorities. Without technical and technological knowledge the student has to depend on crude and primitive methods.
  3. Critical thinking: Students have to learn to articulate their thoughts, find sound arguments, be able to react to the suggestions of others and employ knowledge obtained from technical literature and other sources. Critical thinking helps to define a position towards the environment and to create works of art capable of appealing to the wider public.
  4. Social skills: Mutual communication and interaction during assignments requiring good teamwork.
  5. Professional future: All students should leave the studio capable of presenting their skills by means of an exhibition, portfolio or website; in addition, they should be able to write a text to supplement their work, prepare a good CV and lead professional discussions with individuals or institutions.

The study is complemented with regular workshops and discussions with contemporary Czech and foreign artists. In addition to practical courses, students attend theoretical lectures about the history, philosophy and technology of photography. The study involves regular trips to domestic and foreign cultural centres and scholarship exchange programmes with renowned institutes abroad.
The Studio of Photography was founded in 1995 by Pavel Štecha, becoming one of the then five Studios of the Department of Graphic Arts.
Notable artists connected with the studio include Jiří Thýn, Salim Issa, Štěpánka Stein and Alena Kotzmannová.

Head of the Studio
doc. MgA. Aleksandra Vajd

Aleksandra Vajd was born in Maribor, Slovenia. She holds a degree from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Ljubljana as well as a B.A. and an M.A. from the Department of Photography, Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), Prague. Between 2004 and 2006 she attended the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz on a fellowship from the Fulbright Foundation. In 2008 she became an Associate Professor at the Academy of Plastic Arts in Ljubljana, where she still teaches. She holds a concurrent appointment at the Academy of Visual Arts in Ljubljana.


nám. J. Palacha 80, 116 93 Praha 1
4th floor – cabinet 401, studio 406

251 098 203

MgA. Martins Kohout

M.A. Marie Tučková

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