After graduating from secondary school
in Prague in 1982, Nemec worked in various professions. In 1987 he
began the photography programme at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague,
but a year later was forced to interrupt his studies owing to his
nonconformist views. After the fall of the Communist régime in late
1989 (the Velvet Revolution), he was employed as the personal photographer
to President Václav Havel. He accompanied the President on many trips
at home and abroad and photographed him on various official and nonofficial
occasions. Nemec eventually assembled a large set of expressive photographs,
which show different aspects of Havel's personality and his ups and
downs - from being the leading figure of the "Velvet Revolution"
of November 1989, to his diverse work as an extraordinarily popular
president, his resignation from the Presidential Office over the break-up
of Czechoslovakia in 1992, and his election as the first President
of the Czech Republic. From these photographs, many of which have
been published in leading newspapers and magazines of the world, Nemec
made a careful selection for his new book.
In 1992, while working at the Office of the President, Nemec became
a member of the R. M. Anzenberger Agency, Vienna, with whom he continues
to collaborate to this day. Since 1995 he has been sent on various
assignments in the field of photojournalism and documentary photography
and has meanwhile been preparing his own project on life in Cuba.
For this project he has taken photographs which tell a story not only
on the concrete level of showing the lives of ordinary people in Cuba
under a régime in deep decline but also on an abstract level beyond
time. His photographs have been published in newspapers and magazines
such as Libération,
Le Monde, Paris Match, Der Spiegel, Stern, Geo, Die Zeit, DU, Focus,
The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times Magazine.
In 1995 he won Third Prize in the World Press Photo competition (Amsterdam)
for one of his photographs from Cuba. And in 1997 he was awarded a
scholarship from Kultur Kontakt, Austria, then, a year later, he received
a scholarship from České foto. He has taken part in several group
exhibitions - for example "37 Photographers in Chmelnice"
(Prague, 1989), "November 1989, Czechoslovakia" (Prague,
1989), "The Year of the Emergency Exit" (Lausanne, 1990).
In 1995-6 he exhibited the Havel photographs in towns throughout the
Netherlands as well as in Vienna, Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest and New
Tomki Nemec lives in Prague.