Adolf ZIKA - photographer, director, producer

personal pages

Curriculum vitae

Adolf Zika was born in 1972 in the town of Prachatice. He graduated from the school of pedagogy and in 1988 became a member of the Center for Top Sports in Prague. He gained the title of Junior Champion of the country in judo, and was awarded a bronze medal in the European Junior Tournament in Vienna. In 1990, he traveled to Budo University of Katsura, Japan, where he underwent training under the best judo fighters in the world. After his return, he abruptly quit his judo career without any official explanation.

In the following years, Adolf Zika tried to catch up by learning everything about life which he had not learned from sports. He composed music, toured and organized various unique projects. In 1993, he was the guitarist for the hardcore band Serious Music. He wrote both music and lyrics. In 1994, he began with photography and a year later won first place in the most contended category of the Czech Press Photo – sports series. In 1996, he worked for a German travel agency in Cologne. Following this, the fashion label Pietro Filipi selected him as their central photographer. In the spring of 1997, Zika was able to open his own studio in Prague, began shooting fashion and commercial photography, and his first large commissions started to come in. He began working on catalogs for fashion all over the globe, creating calendars and working on commissions in Australia, Barbados, Hawaii, the Dominican Republic and many other locations. He worked regularly for Playboy, where he photographed many of their covers and for brands such as Hermès, Australian Bodycare, Speedo and many other. From 1997 to 1999 he led and created the image of the travel agency Fischer and its airline Fischer Air. In 1999, he formed the film and production company ZIPO film. In the fall of the year 2000, he was selected among six photographers of the world to represent the renowned brand Leica at Photokina in Cologne. He was then placed into the prestigious worldwide calendar of this brand. He is the author of the largest printed project of the year 2000, which involved the cooperation of the best 120 photographers of the Czech Republic and four other countries. The result was the publication THE LAST BOOK OF THE CENTURY, A Day in the Life of Czech Republic. A year later, Adolf Zika was placed into the book of personalities for Czech commercial and fashion photography.

Since 2001, he has directed over three dozen television commercials, and worked on a feature-length film as a producer. In the same year, he began long-term cooperation with the mobile operator Orange. For Orange Slovakia, he created their entire re-branding campaign in South Africa. From the year 2001 till 2005 Adolf Zika became the official photographer of the racing team Ferrari Menx, with whom he traveled throughout Europe. In 2002, he placed among the bestselling Czech authors at Paris Photo in the Louvre, where he represented the Leica Gallery Prague. He also won a tender to be the photographer for the commercial television station Nova, after which he created the photographic concept and creative promotional visuals for all its programs. He worked for the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he prepared the official book for the Czech Republic’s entrance into the EU. In the year 2003, he signed a contract with the publisher Presco Group for an annual calendar of his work to be distributed worldwide.

In June 2004, Adolf Zika was arrested under unclear circumstances, followed by a three-month detention. After a two-year process, he was cleared of all charges without explanation. In September of 2004, his photographs were once more on display at the world exhibition Photokina in Cologne, this time in the Olympus E-system Gallery. His photographs were later displayed at the gallery Black and White Past and Present, organized as part of Interkamera 2006, where there were three classic Czech photographers exhibited (Drtikol, Chochola and Sudek), along with three representatives from the current generation: Saudek, Vano and Zika. In the summer of 2006, with the support of the Hasselblad and Leica companies, he took photographs for his planned publication 6 Days and 24 Hours of Le Mans, a non-traditional conception of the most famous automobile race in the world. He yet again dedicated himself to the world of fast cars in 2006 and 2007, while working on the project A1GP Season 2006/07. The result of which is an extensive photographic publication, capturing the dramatic moments of the A1GP season as well as a peek behind the scenes of every race. On his journeys for unique photographs, Adolf Zika has traveled to over 47 different countries all over the world.

In October 2006, Adolf Zika released a narrative and luxuriously adjusted black-and-white and in part retrospective book of photography Luxurious Luminescence, published by the Presco Group.

Zika’s black-and-white photographs, mainly artistic nudes, are enlarged using a classic technique, and always shot on a negative and never digitally retouched. They are not influenced by modern techniques and it is difficult to place a date on the vast majority of Adolf Zika’s photography. This might be the reason Adolf Zika is a sought-after photographer for personal collections.

In the year 2007, Adolf Zika as the screenwriter and director, completed a feature length documentary film about the world renowned photographer Jan Saudek, titled JAN SAUDEK - TRAPPED BY HIS PASSIONS, NO HOPE FOR RESCUE. The film was completed as a Czech-American co-production. A year later, the film won the Glass Eye Award for the Best Documentary Film at the EuroFest film festival in Montreal, Canada. Other successes: Selection - Seoul International Film Festival (South Korea), Krakow Film Festival (Poland), Rhode Island International Film Festival (USA), European Film Festival London (UK), Competition: Moving Image Film Festival Toronto (Canada).

In the middle of 2008, a large retrospective exhibition entitled ADOLF ZIKA - 15 YEARS IN THE SHADE was held at the Prague Old Town Hall.

In the same year, Adolf Zika made a feature length documentary film about the most famous automobile race in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, entitled LE MANS PHENOMENON.

In 2009, ONE YEAR OF MY LIFE in 3285 Pictures by Adolf Zika in Co-operation with Leica was published, a worldwide unique photography project, which illustrates one year of the ordinary as well as extraordinary life of Adolf Zika in nine photographs a day. Based on the main idea of this book, in the same year he founded the web project WEEK OF LIFE, a unique documentary project, which aims to create the largest photo library of humanity.