We are 400 ASA, a association of distinguished Czech photographers, founded by Karel Cudlín, Jan Dobrovský, Alžběta Jungrová, Antonín Kratochvíl, Jan Mihaliček, Tomki Němec, and Martin Wágner. We are group of friends who are proud of our occupation, with archives full of photographs taken all over the world in the course of many years. We are proud of the indispensable experience that we have gained in the course of our work. Though each of us cares deeply about individual freedom of expression and having a personal vision and signature style, we know how to think as a group too. We sense the uniqueness of the moments of the times we live in and feel a need to preserve and give authentic testimony about them.
Although we are each individualistic, we share an interest in the classic values of photography regardless of genre. Ultimately, however, we do mostly documentary photography. Though not against other approaches to photography, we are conservative rather than trendy. We respect the legacy of Czech documentary photography and its pictorial qualities, which have from its beginning made it a world-famous phenomenon. And we seek to continue and develop this tradition.
As a guarantee of high-quality work and authentic testimony, we offer our own distinctive views. In the past couple of decades, the overall ways in which photography is made and perceived have clearly changed, not only on the surface, but also how they are organized within and the emotions and relations involved. To a large extent that has been brought about by the digitization of so much in the world. High-quality periodicals rich in photographs lost their unique role with the development of television broadcasting, but the general perception of photographs has been influenced even more by the boundless nature of the Internet and the Web.
When it comes to depicting extraordinary images of the world, professional photographers have inevitably been squeezed out of their exclusive position. All the more, however, can photographers give testimony about concrete stories and achieve deeper insight, well beyond the surface of things. We seek to increase the prestige of documentary photography both by aiming to achieve the highest quality shots and by publishing books and holding exhibitions. By coming together, we seek not only to promote our own work and establish the prestige of the 400 ASA association, but also to contribute to a rebirth of interest in documentary photography in general. In short, we feel a shared need to discover or rediscover ways to achieve our aims as photographers and to do so also because we love our job.