Richard Jaroněk Unique Nature
means, well, ´unique´ or, if you like, ´Nature – the one and only´. How else could one name that most perfect harmony formed by millions of living creatures and organisms? That multifarious palette of shapes and colours which would stretch the imagination of even the wildest dreamer. In some places that rough and uncompromising environment, allowing only the most perfect and the strongest to survive seems, almost too cruel. Plants conquering bare spots here, while retreating elsewhere from the deadly sand. Animals preying on the weaker, only to be preyed upon themselves a moment later. This balance, however, has been gravely upset and the question now reads: is that perfect Nature which has created all life on our planet with such perfection capable of surviving the final, decisive showdown? A showdown with the greatest of predators that has ever walked the Earth – Man,” explains our patriot from the town of Vizovic in Moravian Wallachia. Born in 1969, he is attracted more to the “wet universe” beneath the sea´s surface. During the past few years you are more likely to find him in southern Africa where he spends several months of the year. He has written several books, his large-format photographs constantly travel the Republic, he holds regular talks, publishes in magazines, has contributed to piles of documentaries and starred in director Miroslav Hrdy´s film about tiger sharks called Relax Don't Do It! He has received countless awards for his photographs.
“I had periods in my photographic yearnings where I would hunt one moray after another. Can´t say I treated those tooth-packing critters with kid gloves, the diving bored me. Then manta rays, whales, whale sharks or races with dolphins and turtles. This was followed by some work in Patagonia with killer whales, southern elephant seals and sea lions. The bench mark for me was the year 2000 when I participated in Steve Lichtag´s project Carcharias – the Great White, when he shot the first film about this shark without a safety cage. My life as an underwater photographer took a radical turn. From that moment on, sharks – those senselessly hounded and butchered creatures – became a part of me without which I could no longer imagine my life. I have never ceased to admire this monumental cartilaginous fish and the more I get to know and photograph it, the more mysterious it seems to become. The tiger shark has joined my list of toothy creatures and the area around Durban has become a second home to me. The diving I plan here is extreme and certainly tough as well. To have five or more “tigers” around you along with fifty reef sharks used to be a piece of cake. But unfortunately this has changed radically over the past few years.”
How does Richard Jaronek see the future? “Life in the wild is vanishing at such a breathless rate that in a few years all we will have will be archives full of photos to contemplate and the memory of what used to be. My mind´s eye tells me that life in the seas will survive longest in the cold waters at the poles and that is where I plan to travel to.”