Vaclav Jirasek makes staged portraits that use symbols to talk about the importance of the individual and his or her spiritual nature. He works with large format cameras (13 x 18 cm. to 24 x 30 cm.) and makes only contact prints, so the viewing experience is intense and intimate. Sometimes he shoots through a piece of gauze or some textured glass, which gives the image a heightened sense of mystery. Most of the figures are caught at the height of the gesture-they are very aware of the camera and the props they carry act as symbols-which makes the image walk a line between melodrama and deep psychological meaning. From 1980-1990 he was a member of Brno Bratrstvo (brotherhood) which was a community formed to combat "feelings of emptiness, hopelessness and isolation at the end of the twentieth century." They came together not to make collaborative work, but to discuss ideas and values that they had in common, which they must have felt were not dominant in the culture at large. The content of this work draws on myth, religion, ritual, magic and expression of the inner energy and sensitivity of the individual.