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Spotlight Interview: Arte Laguna Prize x Nejmil

Czech photographer Milos Nejezchleb (nejmil) has only been focusing on conceptual photographic work for 5 years. Nevertheless, he has already won several international awards, and this year will be exhibiting at the Venice Arsenal as an Arte Laguna Prize finalist for his series Moon for Sale.

His photography is characterized by his playful use of color, static figures and surreal mood. Behind his bold images, however, often lies a personal story or a social commentary.

Wanting to know more, we chatted to Milos about his work and what inspired him apply for the Arte Laguna Prize.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I can find my inspiration anywhere, sometimes it’s a location, sometimes a strong theme or story, and sometimes just from something I meet along the way. 

How would you describe the concept of your work?

I usually prepare my projects a few months in advance. I prepare the whole scene in my own direction. From people, clothing to the overall concept and post-production. I like to use contrast, minimalism, symmetry, strong colors, often with a touch of surrealism. I create my works with the intention of forcing the viewer to stop and think. If you stop, you may find a story that I tell in the background.

What roles do narration and biography play in your photography?

Behind most of my series, I try to hide a topic that is interesting to me. Very often these are social issues. For some series, it’s the story of specific people. I love fine art photography, but I feel a strong need not only to make pictures, but also to search for content. 

@nejmil July 6, 2020

Of which projects are you most proud?

I am most proud of the last Moon for Sale series, which was one of my most challenging but has also had the greatest success in the world.

For how long had you been considering entering the Arte Laguna Prize?

I first signed up in 2018. I was inspired by the atmosphere I saw in examples from previous years. In the very first year, I made it to the finals and tasted this atmosphere firsthand. It was great to experience the final evening and meet so many inspiring artists from all over the world in such a beautiful place. 

Could you tell us about your pieces submitted for the Arte Laguna Prize?

Yes, these are just two photos from the “Moon for Sale” series that I mention above. The whole series touches on the topic of consumption, I photographed it in two locations and 20 people were involved in it.

@nejmil January 1, 2021

What opportunities will being an Arte Laguna Prize finalist bring to your career?

Participation in the finals is a great prestige and a great experience for me. I also believe that thanks to the competition, my work will be more visible. Of course, it is publicity and connection with the art world that is important for my work. My goal is to show my work to the widest possible audience. In addition, I enjoy meeting new people with a similar passion and being part of the Arte Laguna Prize community.