Breathtaking black-and-white photographs capturing the relationship between humans and horses by renowned Wallachian photographer Josef Vrážel will be featured in a new exhibition organized by the Museum of the Valašsko Region at the Vsetín Castle. The opening will take place on Friday, May 31 at 7 PM during the Vsetín Night event. The exhibition will be on display at the castle until July 28.


Josef Vrážel has been photographing horses from the beginning, but it was more incidental. He truly embraced this theme intensely at the start of 2020. In fact, he was "forced" to do so by the onset of COVID, as he had to suspend work on another project. After all, animal care and outdoor work did not limit the activities of people around horses as much. Moreover, most of them had a somewhat unique approach to the topic of COVID.

The aim of the photographed series was not to provide a reportage-style insight into individual "horse people" and their charges, but rather to attempt to capture the relationship between human and animal. Gradually, the author uncovered a distinctive community – externally rough, inaccessible, mutually cohesive, and hardworking. Internally, they are sensitive people with immense love for horses, viewing them not as a means of production but rather as their partners.

The exhibition series was primarily created between 2020 and 2023. It captures people from both the hauling environment and the racing sport – both professional and amateur – where breeders devote their free time to their beloved horses.

Regardless of their background, all of them live for their horses...


He was born on August 25, 1966, in Vsetín. He grew up and still lives in the village of Karolinka. He graduated in 1985 from the Secondary Technical School of Mechanical Engineering in Vsetín. He began taking an interest in photography while still in elementary school, even though there were no photographers in his family. The impetus was likely a Christmas gift, the book "Hunter of Living Beauty" by Sláva Štochl. His mother and uncle Jaroslav supported his hobby. He saved up for his first camera, a Smena m8, on his own. His mother then bought him a Flexaret VI. Besides nature, his favorite subject was his grandfather. Perhaps this is where Vrážel’s interest in social documentary photography originated.
After military service, however, other interests and hobbies began to dominate, and he returned to photography around 2005, this time with digital technology. Initially, he focused mainly on landscape photography, achieving considerable success, resulting in numerous corporate calendars. His photographs adorn homes in the Czech Republic and Europe. Soon, however, he became fascinated by human stories that can be told through photography.
Josef Vrážel’s main focus is on long-term projects, which allow him continuity and a deeper insight into the subject matter. His main inspiration is the region where he was born and lives – Horní Vsacko and its inhabitants. Most of his photographs are thus taken in the relatively small area of a few villages. He prefers black-and-white photography, believing it to be more suitable for the Wallachian landscape than color photography.
He began exhibiting his work in 2016 and has participated in numerous group exhibitions. Together with his colleague Vladimír Skýpala, he is working on a joint project about Wallachia titled "At Home." This series has been exhibited in many places across the Czech Republic, including Velké Karlovice, Karolinka, Vsetín, Kroměříž, České Budějovice, Český Krumlov, and Karviná. He has also exhibited solo series from the environment of Charity Nový Hrozenkov, for example, in Zlín. He exhibited the Three Kings Collection in Brno and at Czech Radio in Prague, where it was introduced by Prague Archbishop Jan Graubner. A large retrospective exhibition was presented at the beginning of this year at the prestigious Leica Gallery Prague, curated by renowned Czech photographer Jaroslav Kučera.