December 7, 2022
Karel Chladek captures ethereal nightclub photographs for his project “Public Intimacy,” which is a testament to love and desire.
Speaking to PetaPixel, Montreal-based Chladek explains he’s been an active photographer for 13 years, shooting in nightclubs every weekend for the past decade where he’s collected millions of images.
“What makes nightlife such a fascinating environment to photograph? To me, the dichotomies of love and lust, euphoria and drama, excess and lucidness, intimacy, and public, are what make moments of the night so alluring,” says Chladek.
“This is what brought me to my main theme of romance at night. Having shot in nightclubs every weekend for the past 10 years, I have gathered millions of images only to select a few to create Public Intimacy, which is my testimony to love and desire.”
The powerful images show moments of intense intimacy that are a hallmark of nightclubs where revelers go to lose their inhibitions, with Chladek capturing stunning tones that set the mood.
“It documents points in time that seem so pure, where individuals are at their most natural. Whether the photographs encapsulate the story of one amorous night or capture the moment a spark ignited in the darkness which continued to burn for years to come, we will never know,” says Chladek.
“What I am sure is that this series captures genuine, unstaged moments at night, which makes us viewers, interpret our own narrative, always embracing this 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 a flash. He’s also fostered relationships with nightclub owners who allow him to shoot the photos.
“I’ve gathered a few residencies and contacts in nightclubs here in Montreal, which means the 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 boasts over 145,000 followers on Instagram and posted a viral video on TikTok showing people moshing out on the front row of a large concert. The resulting photos show passionate young music fans having the time of their life.
@karelchladek The hair though 💃🏻… #photography #nightlife #festival #beforeandafter ♬ A New Error – Moderat
When asked what makes a successful picture Chladek replies: “Stories in every corner, tones you can feel, and an exclusive moment that will never happen again.”
Image credits: All photos by Karel Chladek.