Petr Helbich worked as a photographer for over fifty years and is the most important non-professional Czech photographer. Helbich currently lives in Prague.


After completing his studies in medicine, Helbrich worked for three years in Jablunkov in Moravia where he became friends with Josef Sudek who came to the area to photograph the Beskid forest Moinsi. His most well-known work includes photographs of Slovak virgin forest Sluzice, Beskids, shots of the periphery of Prague, hospital scenes (for which he attracted a lot of attention in the 1970s) and still lives from his flat. His friendship with Josef Sudek had tremendous influence on his work and he became Sudek’s unofficial apprentice , receiving advice and critical comments from him regularly.


The photographs of the Moravian forest by Rudolf Janda were an early influence on Helbrich as he can be seen by comparison. Helbrich’s younger perspective on such scenes is apparent as “he does not hesitate to accentuate the influences of civilization.” “Helbich has applied Sudek’s ‘magic realism’ in an interesting fashion, but this time to a social environment which he has transformed into a modern still life. Helbich’s photography is technically close to Sudek’s. Sudek gave him his first large-format camera, from which he made contact prints. The resultant quality of the prints enabled Helbich to fully express his sense of detail and atmosphere.”

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