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Tribute to Bohumil "Bob" Krčil

Photographer, journalist and editor Bohumil “Bob” Krčil is one of the most prominent, albeit often ommited, personalities amongst Czech emigrants to New York.

Krčil, who emigrated to Austria in 1968 after the invasion by the Warsaw Pact armies (and subsequently left to study in Sweden), traveled extensively around the world, including Pakistan, India and Afghanistan and finally settled in New York during what he planned to be a short visit. Here he spent the rest of his vibrant and very rich life, which ended prematurely in 1992. It is perhaps his early and tragic departure at the age of 40 that may be the core reason for his relatively unknown life story, mainly due to the disorganized situation in the then post-revolutionary Czechoslovakia. By those close to him he was – and still is – described as enthusiastic, boundlessly honest and systematic.

As he later said himself, he never regretted his decision to leave his homeland. His most pivotal work mainly includes the publication Collected in New York, which is divided into two parts and in which he documented the everyday life of the American metropolis, ranging from various cultural events to breathtaking architecture and the work of local visual artists. The cultural feat Collected in New York,subtitled The Almanac of Focused Dispersion, was created using a typewriter and hand-made collages in Krčil’s apartment in the East Village, which lent it an inimitable charm in the era of computers. Profiles of personalities, interviews and fiction by various authors are illustrated with an array of images. They depict the lives of Czech émigrés – photographers, musicians, visual artists, writers and other compatriots, like top models and an innkeeper. The first part of the compilation reached those interested at the end of the '80s exclusively through a limited number of photocopies. There we can find mentions of Ivan Král, Paulina Pořízková, Andy Warhol and other personalities of New York of the time, ranging from those well-known around the world to those who Krčil met with daily and were known primarily to him.

Photography book of Bohumil "Bob" Krčil