Czech documentary photographer Dana Kyndrová has been focusing her camera on women for half of a century. The series “Woman between Inhaling and Exhaling” examines the many aspects of women´s lives. Shot primarily in former Czechoslovakia and later in the Czech Republic, but also in some Western countries, her photographs show the moment of birth, the tension of school exams, falling in love, daily life, both under Communism and after.
The project called Woman between Inhaling and Exhaling includes photographs from the seventies to the nineties and its aim is to capture the life of a woman in its full variety, from birth to death. The photographs are arranged in such a way that the exhibition forms a kind of life story. The whole project is divided into seven parts – adolescence, maternity and family, fun, work, eroticism, faith, and old age. Apart from the objective chronology of life’s pilgrimage of a human being, or more precisely, of a woman, the photographs perceive the principal life values, which accompany and influence us during our entire existence. The theme is more or less general; thus the question is not to portray a particular environment or a characteristics of a certain country.
One could say the woman portrayed is a „European“ woman. A substantial part of the photographs was taken in the Czech Republic; some of them originated from Switzerland (in 1993, the author was given a half-year residence grant of Bern canton to explore the theme of woman), France (in 1996, the author obtained a two-month grant of French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the same purpose), as well as from England, Russia, the Ukraine, Germany, Slovakia, Poland, and Estonia.
Dana Kyndrová decided to create her portrait series A Woman between Inhaling and Exhaling both as a response to the male gaze at women that has been prominent in art until now, and as a testimony about contemporary women, their fate, their mystery, and their lives spanning from the cradle to the grave.
Dana Kyndrová became a professional photographer in the 1990s. She came to focus on the role of women gradually, and she follows their fates with interest and empathy. „I´m sure I understand a number of aspects of women´s behavior better than a man, which is an advantage in a way. In addition, there are situations and environments where a man by his mere presence is a disturbance. I´m not a reporter who has to bring material to the newsroom at all costs. I have an ethical boundary inside of me, which has to do not only with choice of subject and approach to it, but above all the style of working. For example, I never set up any photo. That´s viscerally unacceptable for me.“ Her relationship with her subjects is one of the things Kyndrová loves about her work. „It´s a huge source of gaining new knowledge. I like photography more than reading books – talking to people, going places, the suspense over whether it will succeed.“
Kyndrová has staged numerous exhibitions at home and abroad and is the author of eight publications: e.g. Woman Between Inhaling and Exhaling (2002), Departure of Soviet Troops (2003), Subcarpathian Ruthenia (2007), with her mother Libuše, Algerie-Togo (2009), The Rituals of Normalization / Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 1980s (2011) and Russians… Their Icons and Desires (2015).