You know this gesture very well. A photographer wants to make a picture of you. Disregarding your refusal, he is getting ready to press the shutter release. Only a second remains for you to prevent him from taking the picture. So you raise your hand and you cover the field of vision of the lens with your palm.
I wonder who was the first person in history to do that. When did the form of technical reproduction of reality became an unwanted witness; when did it begin to make trouble? Tales about Indians who killed soul thieves are fairly well known. But who was the first to raise his hand in order to ruin a picture by blocking the line of sight between an aimed camera and the photographed object? When did the first “pictures of refused pictures” come into being?
Paradoxically, you are shown in these pictures. If we were sensitive at all to the appearance of the palm, its slopes and lines, the length and shape of the fingers, equally as sensitive as to the physiognomy of the face, we could probably recognize who is in the picture. Most of us are not so sensitive. But there are those who will read your palm to interpret your natural disposition or even your entire fate. If you have hidden yourselves from a photographer by raising your hand, you have offered him your all.
Recording media are ever-present in contemporary society. Industrial cameras hang on the sides of buildings, we have cameras in mobile phones, spy satellites are circling the globe, every year tourists film millions of hours of videos of the places they visit. We would probably be amazed at all of the places where we are recorded. At a birthday party, your mother-in-law won’t take “no” for an answer and takes a picture of you with the children next to the cake. How many times have we had to “attach” our picture to something... We are recorded and we are forced be recorded. If, then, we wish to remain a member of society, we cannot avoid this. There is less and less room for refusal.
Likewise, in television shots and printed periodicals we see hands shoved in front of camera lenses. The person not wishing to be photographed might be a convicted swindler, a politician on holiday, a Hollywood star or a person with a bad conscience. “Don’t take my picture,” “don’t film here.” The refusal of recording in these cases becomes an attempt at protecting one’s identity and the right to intimacy and to remaining incognito.
Other people refuse because they are traumatized by their appearance. On the other hand, of course, one of the greatest joys for modern man is saying “no” even when he could just as well say “yes” — thereby expressing his personal freedom. There is more than one reason for refusing to be recorded.
Jan Šerých deals with relationships between an image, text and communication. Recently he has often been confronting us with the incompleteness and non-productivity of forms of communication. As a visual artist, in multiplied portraits he is playing with the visualization of the refusal of communication and depiction along with how the expression of refusal is no guarantee that we truly rid ourselves of communication and depiction. He creates a paradox: he is a communicator and a creator of an image with a negative attitude towards communication and images. Hmmm... schizophrenia, self defense, spite, a pose, the indifferent use of a symbol? The movement in space between these possibilities is the tension, on account of which it is worthwhile thinking about the palm in front of the camera lens.

— Jiří Ptáček , April 2006