Adolf Zika is a Czech photographer. Adolf Zika was born in the then Czechoslovakia in 1972. 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 in 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, Zika tried to catch up by learning everything about life which he hadn’t 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. 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, One Day in the Life of the 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 two 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 SA. For Orange Slovakia, he created their entire re-branding campaign in South Africa. 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 TV 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 September 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 (František Drtikol, Václav Chochola and Josef Sudek), along with three representatives from the current generation: Jan Saudek, Robert Vano and Adolf 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.
In 2007 Adolf Zika directed a full-length documentary film "Jan Saudek - V pekle svých vášní, ráj v nedohlednu", about the world renowned photographer Jan Saudek.
In 2008, he 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. The film was later included in the Official Selection and screened at the‘Sport Movies & TV 2010 – 28th Milano International FICTS Festival’.
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.
One year later, he once again sat in the director’s chair and directed the short documentary film Tichá Vášeň (English title – Silent Passion).
In October 2010, another one of Zika’s books was published, named IN THE SHADOW OF LIGHT. Besides Zika’s typical images, it offers raw portraits of personalities or images of landscape where time ceases to exist. Still, nude artistic photography dominates and forms the main body of this remarkable publication.
In February 2012, Adolfa Zika was awarded the METRO Zlatá pecka 2011 award for the TV spot “Anthem”, which he directed and created for Mountfield a.s.
Later that year, he directed a feature length documentary film, composed of collected footage sent by citizens of the Czech Republic, named Země česká, Domov Tvůj! (The Czech Land, Your Home!), which he created in co-production with Czech TV.
Zika’s black-and-white photographs are enlarged using a classic technique, and always shot on a negative—he never touches them up digitally. Not being influenced by modernity, it’s difficult to place a date on the vast majority of Adolf Zika’s photography. This might be the reason he’s a sought-after photographer for personal collections. On his journeys for unique photographs, Adolf Zika has traveled to over 40 different countries all over the world.