Peter Lik Gallery in Prague

I first came across Peter Lik's photography few years ago (www.lik.com, unfortunately recently redesigned in such a way that you can't really look at pictures unless you register). Having seen web previews only, I had mixed feelings - some of his photographs were stunning, while others I found really pathetic. It's actually the case till now. I think Lik's imagery contains variety of average quality shots of America's well known vistas that you can google out easily and see no difference from thousands other images in composition or lighting. On the other hand, he is making wonderful photographs of trees and forests that have their unique atmosphere and feel, and much more.

You just need to spend a serious amount of time browsing Lik's production and I'm sure you'll find out what you're after - be it a classic (slightly) super-saturated postcard, more intimate nature's shot or a beautiful detail that you won't be shy to decorate your living room with. It all is actually a great business model. Starting with a simple yet impressive brand, an aggressive (at least for this part of the world) self-marketing and precise presentation (I do not remember if I ever saw Lik's picture / movie without well fitted sleeveless jacket accenting bicipital muscles of the main hero), Peter Lik seems to be able to offer something to everybody in an extraordinary technical quality. If you can afford it. His limited series (of 950 copies!) are sold between $10-20k a piece. And his first non-American gallery was opened recently in Prague (www.peterlikprague.cz).

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Having experienced a display and the way gallery is arranged, I'm changing my views slightly. The quality of large format prints is mostly astounding. They are able to reproduce lighting and colors in a very lively yet believable manner that greatly help overall feel compared to what you can see on the web. Images are presented in impressive, (probably) custom-made frames that actually turn any of them into a serious chunk of furniture. Also, the selection of a showcase is well made. Do not forget to check out the 'black' room where a sophisticated lighting system changes how one or two images shown are rendered depending on quantity of incident light. Surprising and very interesting. If you have a chance, talk to an enthusiastic manager of the place.

The gallery will definitely not satisfy hardcore fans of independent visual arts but if you want to experience the effect of greatly lit huge prints of excellent quality of well-known places, waterfall panoramas or more intimate woodland reflections, it's the place to go and see. Some visitors may want to buy a piece and this is why I like the gallery most for - it's introducing the idea of collecting landscape photographs of world renowned author and paying a price for it. Quite hefty price, needless to say. For this part of Europe, it's very unique yet uneasy challenge for Prague's Peter Lik Gallery for the months (hopefully years) to come. Keep my fingers crossed.