A native of Prague, Tomki Němec (b. 1963) attended school in Alexandria, Egypt and, back in the Czech Republic, in Klánovice, Miletín, and Prague. As a student he contributed photographs to samizdat periodicals. In 1988, under pressure from the authorities, the Film and Television School of the Academy of the Performing Arts (FAMU) expelled him. Beginning with the Velvet Revolution in November 1989, he started systematically photographing Václav Havel, and was his personal photographer when Havel was President of Czechoslovakia and then of the Czech Republic until he left office in 1992. From 1997 to 2002, he was again hired by the President’s Office to photograph Havel. His subject matter is almost always ‘ordinary’ people in their everyday situations, providing testimony about their personal lives and the history and politics that bear down on them.
He has twice won prizes in the World Press Photo competition. He has been represented by the Agence VU, Paris, and, since 1992, the Anzenberger Agency, Vienna. He has shown his work in a number of countries and published in many periodicals, including Libération, Le Monde, Paris Match, Stern, Der Spiegel, Das Magazin, DU, Geo, Die Zeit, Focus, Esquire, New York Times Magazine, and Los Angeles Times Magazine. He has published three books of his own works and contributed to many others.