The Tireless Epic photobook was produced to accompany an exhibition entitled The Tireless Epic: Fieret-Tichý-Heyboer that was held in the Hague Museum of Photography in 2010.
Let's look at all three artists individually:
When Fieret discovered photography, he became obsessed with black-and-white prints and the process of photo developing and printing as a whole.
Gerard Petrus Fieret (1924-2009) was born in Amsterdam, however, spend most of his life in the Hague, studying painting and drawing at the Royal Academy of Art. Aiming at becoming a painter, from the mid-60s he, nonetheless, switched his focus to photography, a medium that helped to showcase all his visual talents. When Fieret discovered photography, he became obsessed with black-and-white prints and the process of photo developing and printing as a whole. Therefore, in the period between 60's and 80s he was restlessly capturing everything that would catch his interest - self-portraits, children, animals, streets and of course, his main obsession - women. In fact, the femme-fixation was so strong that some of the photographs, especially the nudes captured with his war-weapon reflex Praktica in uninhibited, intimate poses possess voyeuristic character. His work, considered very experimental was misunderstood and looked down upon during his lifetime. Luckily now, his printing tests on the out-of-date photographic paper and experiments with dying, burning, scratching his negatives, and smearing his prints with pigeon droppings is considered a real breakthrough in the photography world.
The work of a Czech photographer Miroslav Tichý (1926-2011) is considered one of the most interesting photography discoveries of the past ten years. Tichý and Fieret shared the same passion for photographing women. However, an introverted personality of the Czech artist resulted in more secretive, vague and abstract images of women he knew or candidly photographed on the street. He relied a lot on his self-built cameras and self-built lenses constructed from cardboard tubes, plastic pipes and Plexiglas polished with a mix of toothpaste and cigarette ashes. The photos that came out of this equipment were a surprise even to the photographer himself. Being some sort of a loner, Tichý quietly lived a solitary life in his hometown of Kyjov in the Czech Republic until his death at the age of 85. However, just before his death, his work has been shown with major retrospective exhibitions at the Pompidou Center in Paris in 2008 and the International Centre of Photography in New York in 2010.
Another Dutch photographer Anton Heyboer (1924-2005) is better known for his paintings and his unusual life in his own commune in the village of Den Ilp than for his photography. After experiencing the horrors of the Second World War, he became deeply traumatised and decided to withdraw from society. That's how the idea of starting a commune where he and his four wives, or how he would call them "the brides of Heyboer", could happily live according to his own rules came about. The years spent in the commune were extremely productive for Heyboer and he produced a lot of brilliant artworks. The exhibition in the Hague Museum of Photography, same as this book, is focused on black-and-white photos taken by Heyboer in the 1970s to document his daily life in Den Ilp, where he happily lived until his death at the age of 81.
In order to get a good grasp of the book, it is recommended, also to see the documentaries: Photo & Copyright by G.P. Fieret (Frank van den Engel, 2009), Miroslav Tichý: Tarzan Retired (Roman Buxbaum, 2008) and Anton Heyboer: in color at God's home (Frank Wiering, 1974).