Walter Novak was born sometime in the mid-20th century in Czechoslovakia. He first picked up a camera in the late ’70s, taking pictures of the people and places around him. Soon, he was shooting Czech bands like Brno’s Synkopy and Prague’s Arakain. His photos graced the covers of albums, music publications, and concert photos. Each and every one of them required approval by the Socialist-run Artistic Commission. And each and every one of them hinted at despair. Still, there’s much joy to be found in Novak’s work.
Novak left for the United States when he was in his thirties. He’s since become an award-winning photographer who has shot the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and U2. His work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Cleveland Magazine, Der Spiegel, The New York Times , Ohio Magazine, Revolver, and London’s Sunday Mirror,London’s The Telegraph,The Atlanta Journal- Constitution,Mollie Makes UK,The Prague Post.The Sydney Morning Herald,Cleveland Plain Dealer.Discovery ID TV.The Nation-Dubai-The United Arab Emirates. His photos have been commissioned by Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Records. Novak was also the staff photographer at Cleveland Scene, where he won numerous photojournalism awards for his non-music contributions to the paper.
In 2004, Novak’s first solo exhibit – “Hello, Cleveland!” – ran at Cleveland’s Western Reserve Historical Society. All of the pictures were shot in Cleveland, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the birthplace of rock and roll. The Rock & Roll Legends exhibit, which ran in 2007 in the Czech Republic, was a summation of Novak’s 25-plus-year career. It featured 150 black-and-white and color photographs of more than three dozen bands and music fans. Most of them were never gathered in one place before.
Novak is a versatile artist. In addition to his award-winning music and news photos, he has shot sporting events, landscapes, and portraits for a number of newspapers and magazines across the planet. He’s been focusing more on photojournalism and editorial assignments these days.
“I love what I do,” says Novak. “Photography will always be the most important part of my life.”
Walter is currently based in Lakewood,Ohio