Dita Pepe

Self Portraits 1999 – 2023

Dita Pepe began her series of self-portraits in 1999 with a photograph capturing Dita and her friend Sarah. Already then, she formed the basic concept of the entire series, which she has been developing for twenty-five years with varying intensity, challenging the conventional idea of a self-portrait.

For Dita, it’s not just a means to know herself. It’s more, and primarily, a way to meet interesting and diverse people around her. In an honest and human way, she tries to understand the fate of each of her models and see the world through their eyes, feel their living space, and become part of it. At the end of this often lengthy process, a photograph is created that represents its culmination, a kind of memento of the times spent together.

Dita Pepe’s photographs often have a theatrical touch and may resemble fashion photography. However, behind such effectiveness, many important existential questions are hidden. Questions that we probably all ask ourselves from time to time: “Why is my life the way it is?”, “How would I live if…?”

The photographs surprisingly reveal a lot about the author herself. Sometimes we see her as a young woman, in another photo as a wife, daughter, friend, colleague, or mother of her daughters Ida and Ela. Dita lives with her self-portraits, including her family and her life in them. This allows us to peek into her own diary, being and destiny.

Blanca Berlin

Dita Pepe (Czech Republic)

She mainly focuses on long-term photographic projects involving women living in contemporary society. She approaches this subject as a documentary researcher, systematically exploring socio-cultural issues related to identity and gender, including her own identity. She perceives photography as a form of communication and therapy.

Her thesis book, Borders of Love, was nominated in 2022 for the Magnesia Litera Award. She has collaborated on several award-winning books, such as Misses, Love Yourself, Self-Portraits, Voices of Women: Australia, Women on Women, Intimacy, and Resilient Society. In collaboration with the writer Jana Poncarova, the women’s publishing house released Las niñas de la Primera República and, this year, Habitaciones propias. Additionally, she works closely with her husband, the photographer Petr Hrubes.

Dita has been working as a professor at the Instituto de Fotografía Creativa at the University of Silesia in Opava for over twenty years.

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