PhotoBook: Cotton Rose by Jitka Hanzlová - PhotoBite
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PhotoBook: Cotton Rose by Jitka Hanzlová

Back in 2004, Jitka Hanzlová was invited by the EU/Japan Festival to participate in the project ‘European Eyes on Japan’, which has been inviting European photographers to Japan since 1999 to photograph people and life in the country’s various prefectures. Cotton Rose is the result of two years of travels in Gifú prefecture where Jitka Hanzlová visited cities and villages, attended ceremonies, learned Japanese and even entered into conversation with Tajima cattle in an effort to first get to know the country, rural life, and traditions before mingling with the anonymous crowds in the cities.

Jitka Hanzlová
© Images Jitka Hanzlová

With nature being an important aspect even of modern Japanese culture, Hanzlová focused on the intrinsic connection between the people and their environment in a country of seemingly extreme opposites. The frail and tender cotton rose; a plant she discovered at the very beginning of her stay which, against all odds, reemerges in spring after surviving the harsh winters, came to symbolise for her the Japanese soul: both fragile and tenacious at once.

Jitka Hanzlová
© Images Jitka Hanzlová

Jitka Hanzlová

Crossing contexts, identities and cultures, Jitka Hanzlová has been on a quest for the meaning of belonging that lies at the heart of her images. Since she defected from the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia in 1982, she has sought to explore her experiences through photography, producing a body of work at once poetic and truthful. Hanzlová’s photography is in constant pursuit of the relationship between the individual and the context in which people live. It scrutinises the ways in which home and surroundings indelibly shape identity. Drawing on her own life story, Hanzlová’s photographs also speak of a more universal longing for a sense of place. 

Born 1958 in the former CSSR/Czech Republic, escaped to Germany in 1982. Between 1987 and 1994 she studied visual communication at Essen University with a focus on photography. She has been awarded several photography awards, including the BMW Paris Photo Prize in 2007. 

Jitka Hanzlová
© Images Jitka Hanzlová
  • Jitka Hanzlová: COTTON ROSE
  • Publisher: Steidl
  • 88 Pages/46 Images
  • 7 x 10 in. / 22.5 x 29 cm
  • Four-colour process
  • Cloth-bound hardcover
  • £35.00 [approx]
  • ISBN 978-3-95829-127-3
  • Release Date: March 2019
Jitka Hanzlová

About the author

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Simon Skinner

Co-founder // Editor

Having spent many years working in various pockets of the music industry, and always with a camera in hand, Simon has worked with organisations such as Warner/Chappell, Food Records and ultimately, co-founding the innovative independent record label, Izumi Records before moving fully into the world of publishing in 2007. Amongst numerous other projects in the last decade, he has been responsible for a number of specialist photo trade magazines and journals for the filmmaking and photography communities, along with a coffee table book entitled, "Great Britons of Photography' which he produced with Peter Dench and Leica. Now heading up PhotoBite, Simon and the team have set themselves a task of delivering informative and inspirational content for photographers of all levels, from the beginner, shooting with smartphones, to the seasoned photographer and filmmaker.