Herbert Slavík


From 1990 to 2002 head of the MF DNES photo department and founder of the MAFA photo agency, since 2003 a freelance photographer, since 2016 Chairman of the Board of Czech Photo o.p.s. Winner of awards for the best sports photograph in 1986, 1996 and 1997.

In 1989, he photographed the banned protest rallies in Prague, the escape by East German citizens through the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Prague, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the establishment of the Civic Forum and the election of Václav Havel as President of Czechoslovakia.These photographs were first exhibited in 1990 in Augsburg, Germany, under the name Velvet Revolution. From 1990 to 1993, as an MF DNES photographer, he accompanied President Václav Havel during his foreign and domestic trips.

Since the 1990s, portraiture of Czech personalities as part of a long-term project called Faces has been one of the two themes that he has devoted most of his time to. In 2002, he was awarded a grant by the Mayor of Prague to produce a series of photographs of important Prague personalities. In 2003, he introduced the first part of the Faces project at major solo exhibitions in Prague and Moscow, and in 2004 also in Los Angeles. Since 2004, in collaboration with the Mladá fronta DNES daily newspaper, he has been working on the Czechs of the Year project, capturing the leading figures in the social events of the past twelve months in joint photographs.

In 2005, he was awarded the main prize in the Art category of the Czech Press Photo competition for his series of portraits from the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which was exhibited in Los Angeles in the same year under the name Hosté/Guests. The creation of the long-term Faces project resulted in his co-authorship of the communication campaign promoting the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2009. In the same year, a collection of photographs entitled Faces CZ 2009 was exhibited at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels. In 2010, he expanded the Faces collection with pictures of soldiers from the Czech Army’s foreign missions, especially from Afghanistan. The collection of photographs was presented to the Czech public as part of a touring exhibition and in a publication of the same name – Faces of the Czech Army.

At the turn of 2012, to mark the 800th anniversary of the birth of St Agnes of Bohemia, his photographs documenting the canonization of St Agnes of Bohemia by Pope John Paul II in November 1989 were exhibited at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross at the Vatican, under the name Miracle of St Agnes – November 1989.

Public figures were also the subject of a collection of photographs entitled Icons of Pilsen, made in 2010–2012 as part of the Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015 project.

From September to November 2012, the Herbert Slavík: Twenty Years in the Czech Republic exhibition was held. The collection of photographs exhibited in the Cloister and the Knights’ Hall of the Old Town Hall in Prague included shots of the most important events that preceded the division of Czechoslovakia and developments in the Czech Republic from 1993, including portraits of famous Czech personalities.

Another important part of Herbert Slavík’s work is sports photography, which he has pursued since the beginning of his career. Since 1992, he has attended the Olympic Games, first as a photojournalist for MF DNES newspaper and later as a freelance photographer in cooperation with the Czech Olympic Committee. His documentation of sports events, Czech athletes’ achievements, as well as entirely abstract photographs were first presented at a major exhibition entitled Jeux/Hry/Games in 2005, held at the Old Town Hall in Prague. The exhibition was then successfully presented in Paris. To mark the Olympic Games in Sochi, an exhibition of sports photographs was held in Moscow and the Czech Team exhibition in the Olympic Park in Prague’s Letná.

His work is also represented in permanent collections, e.g. at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Museum of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.

Since 2013, he has been co-organizing the Czech Press Photo competition, in which he has also been a member of the international jury in recent years. Since 2016, he has been Chairman of the Board of Czech Photo o.p.s., which organizes the Czech Press Photo competition.


WWA photo
Kristina Faltová
+420 724 300 207

© Herbert Slavík - Použití fotografií pouze se souhlasem autora