• photographer, traveller and adventurer
  • born in 1969 in Zlín, Czech Republic, where he still lives and works

Ondřej’s passion is photography, and it dovetails with his life’s other avocations — motor sport and travel. Through his lens, he captures and conveys the atmosphere of auto races and desert marathons, as well as the beauty of exotic corners of the world, fascinating natural scenery, amazing flora and fauna, interesting architecture in ancient settlements and modern cities, and the faces, emotions and lives of people.

“Photography is my hobby. Even though from time to time I exhibit and publish my photos, it has never become a job for me, and it remains my primary pastime.

I first discovered its attractions in 2006. I was 37 at the time, and had already intensely experienced my life’s passion, which is race cars — full-size and miniature. I had co-driven rallies, followed and experienced motor sport events for a long time, and later discovered the excitement of their smaller versions — radio-controlled car races. When I decided to document this exciting world through photography, and got my first SLR camera, I quickly realized I had still another interest to enrich my life. Since that moment, I’ve devoted most of my free time to photography, and I’ve tried to perfect my skills as much as possible.

At the same time, a yearning awoke in me for adventure in distant locales — that had been slumbering in my soul since boyhood. Suddenly my passions and interests began to merge naturally, and I felt that the appetite for travel, love of motor sports and my newly discovered passion for photography could join together as one whole. It would offer me a lot of new experiences, a sense of fulfilment and euphoria. Moreover, I began to enjoy the atmosphere and excitement of car races and even radio-controlled car races, and at the same time decided to use every opportunity to discover exotic places in the world, and get to know the local nature, lives and cultures.

A few years later, I found another opportunity to merge my hobbies into one exciting whole when I discovered the Dakar Rally through the desert. The rally was held in South America in those years, which gave me a chance to capture race cars and motorcycles before the amazing backdrop of that continent’s nature. Since 2013, I haven’t missed a single year of the Dakar rally, and seven years later, I set out to photograph its look and atmosphere in new parts of the world — this time the Arabian Peninsula.

Since the time I fell in love with photography, my life has followed a simple algorithm: When the photography bug bites me, I think up a new journey. And when I travel, I take pictures. I’m still driven by a desire to capture marvellous images through my lens. And even though I sometimes get dangerously close to the edge in my quest for the perfect shot, I still long to discover new places and return again to places where I’ve already gained a lot of experience and successful images.

Wherever I go, I am inspired by the look and atmosphere of the place and try to capture it as faithfully as possible. I photograph things as they are, and I don’t change reality. I want any later retouching of each photo to be merely cosmetic, so that I’m always motivated to photograph as well as possible.

Through publication and exhibitions, I then offer others a look at what I’ve experienced on my travels. At the same time, I try to inspire them to let their imagination run. Because there’s nothing more beautiful than following one’s greatest dream.”

Ondřej Záruba