Ostravia, Czech Republic
Dita Pepe born 05/09/1973, Ostrava. In 1992 she graduated from a grammar school in Frydlant nad Ostravici and left for Germany, where she stayed for five years. She married Francesco Pepe, a student of psychology. She started to be interested in photography. From the beginning she took photography as a way of self-perception. Also her final university thesis called "Photography as a form of theraphy" reflects her attitude. She attended courses of photography at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Germany. In 1996 she started to study at the Silestian University of Opava, Institute of Creative Photography (ITF). In 1997 she moved to Prague and worked as a photographer for a popular magazine Story. However, soon she found the atmosphere of cocktail parties unacceptable; moreover she broke up with her husband. She moved to the Beskydy Mountains where she met her new partner Petr Hrubes, a student of photography. He did a civil service there working in an institution for mentally retarded people. There she started working with stage-photography and took photos of people around her, people from the institution or her family. Her pictures from this period are black-and-white but she became more and more attracted by colour photo too.
In 1998 she and Petr Hrubes left for Koln, Germany. There she made a black-and-white series of portraits series of people close to her. She got her bachelor degree in this year too. In 1999 she started working on her most succesful project "The Self-portraits". She portraited herself as a double of women whom she accompanied int he pictures. All the photos were taken in the women's real environment. She worked on it not only in her home country but also in Italy and Germany. She was awarded Kodak Nachwuchs Forderpreis for this series of pictures. Then she continued in her studies for master degree at ITF, the University of Opava. Since 2000 she has been living in Ostrava. She teaches at the Secondary school of Arts. In 2001 she finished the series and the photos were displayed t independent exhibitions, for example in the Altonaer Museum in 2002. The curator of the exhibition was Denis Brudna, an editor-in-chief of the Portfolio magazine. The magazine also published Dita's portfolio and later the series was published in german magazines Emma, GEO Wissen and a number of Czech magazines (Reflex, Blok, Instinkt, Dolce Vita etc.). Then it was exhibited in the Velryba gallery, Prague (the curator was Professor Vladimir Birgus, the head of ITF), on Photokina 2002 in Kodak Visual Gallery, Koln.
In 2003 she got a master degree for a series of pictures connected with "the Self-portraits". In this case she took pictures of herself and men, as their partner or wife. These pictures were made in exterior with the use of artificial light. Again the main purpose was again to capture the tie of the photgraphed people with their reality, their environment. This project has not been finished yet and in the course of time Dita adds new works to it. In 2003 she had an exhibition on the Prague Bienale 1 in National Gallery, Prague, then on the "Month of photography" in Bratislava. Thanks to the financial grant from the Ministry of Culture she could let 30 pictures from "The Self-portraits" series enlarge to 1x1 meter there. In the same year she gave birth to a daughter Ida.
Czech photographer Dita Pepe uses self-portrait photography to explore ideas of how personal identity can seem to change dramatically in relationship to the other people in our lives, and the surrounding circumstances.