Evocative nightclub photos capture moments of ‘public intimacy’
Karel Chladek captures photographs of ethereal nightclubs for his project “Public privacy», which bears witness to love and desire.
Talk to PetaPixelMontreal-based Chladek says he’s been an active photographer for 13 years, taking photos in nightclubs every weekend for the past decade where he’s collected millions of images.
“What makes nightlife such a fascinating environment to photograph? For me, the dichotomies of love and lust, euphoria and drama, excess and lucidity, intimacy and public, are what make nighttime moments so alluring. “says Chladek.
“That’s what led me to my main theme of romance at night. Having been touring nightclubs every weekend for the past 10 years, I’ve collected millions of images to n’ select just a few to create Public Intimacy, which is my testimony of love and desire.
The powerful images show moments of intense intimacy that characterize nightclubs where revelers go to lose their inhibitions, with Chladek capturing stunning tones that set the mood.
“He documents moments in time that seem so pure, where individuals are most natural. Whether the photographs sum up the story of a night in love or capture the moment a spark was lit in the darkness that continued to burn for years, we will never know,” Chladek says.
“What I’m sure of is that this series captures authentic, unstaged moments at night, which makes us viewers, interprets our own narrative, always embracing that positive human connection.”
Chladek uses a combination of fast prime lenses with Canon bodies because most of his content is shot in low light without flash. He has also formed relationships with nightclub owners who allow him to take pictures.
“I’ve put together a few residences and contacts in nightclubs here in Montreal, which means that access is guaranteed in most cases. They allow me to create under my own creative direction, and I also share some of the content with them.
Chladek has more than 145,000 followers on Instagram and posted a viral video on TikTok showing people joking in the front row at a big concert. The resulting photos show young music lovers having a blast.
@karelchladek The hair though 💃🏻… #photography #night life #festival #before and after ♬ A New Error – Moderate
When asked what makes for a successful photo, Chladek replies, “Stories in every corner, tones you can feel, and an exclusive moment that will never happen again.”
Picture credits: All photos by Karel Chladek.