2018 Photo Exhibition in Bielsko-Biała

Underground world of Primož Jakopin

About the Author

          Primož Jakopin, 69, from Slovenia, was born in a linguistic family. His mother translated over 50 books, some from Polish, also wrote a few, of prose and poems, while his father was a scholar of slavistics and onomastics, of Russian language and literature, but also a great admirer of the vibrant, gentle sounding Polish poetry. His three sons all learned Gałczyński's most famous poem by heart. Primož was keen on photography, since the age of 8, when the father returned from the summer school of Polish in Warsaw and brought him the first camera, a 6 x 4.5 cm format Druh, and in caving, since 17, when he joined the ranks of DZRJL - Ljubljana Cave Exploration Society. His high school certificate (Matura) work was titled Karst and Karst Phenomena.
          Yet neither photography nor speleology could become his profession, deemed by his father an unworthy career path in comparison to more serious science subjects. So he studied technical mathematics, as the computer-oriented branch was called at the time, instead, and during the course of programming discovered that math can also be linked to art, to computer graphics. Influenced by the works of Piet Mondrian and using inverse trigonometric functions he made a series of monochrome lace-like images during the late evening, outside computing center's operating hours, when the machine was available for research work. This work landed him a job at the Faculty's computing centre, calculating turbines for the new hydro power plant. From there he proceeded to further jobs in programming and later to the study of information theory and teaching of language technology at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, with a PhD thesis Upper Bound of Entropy in Slovenian Literary Texts. His estimate was 2.2 bits per character, 10 percent higher than the comparable value for the English. The practical interpretation is that it makes sense to use Slovenian - one needs to speak slightly less to convey the same information than he would using the world language. It is likely that the same also holds for Polish - both languages are related and richly inflected.
          But the passion for caving and cave photography remained and in the seventies and eighties of the past century he developed the software to support a 3D cave model, based on a series of interconnected multangle-approximated cross-sections. It produced much better estimate for cave length, wall and floor surface and, most important of all, cave volume. Slovenia, small as it is - 20.000 km2, 2 mil. inhabitants - has over 12.500 registered caves (at least 10 m deep or long). The longest, Migovec system is 42 km long, the deepest, Brezno Čehi 2 is 1.502 m deep, and some are quite sizeable. Reka river canyon in Škocjanske jame caves is just 2.6 km long but has a volume of 5.2 mil. m3, with an average cross section, if it would be square, 45 x 45 m.
          The advances in digital photo technology after 2000 took the illumination guesswork away, with an instant verification of the picture just taken, and brought new wind in the sails of cave photography. Jakopin decided to exploit it to the full. In a few years he mastered the flash cave illumination and a series of photo exhibitions followed. They were compounded by several caving movies and two papers, Cave Photography and On Cave Nudes. The 2012 Kačna jama (Snake Cave) Entrance documentary was filmed in cooperation with the speleo team from Bielsko-Biała, led by Krzysiek Handzlik. It was the beginning of a friendship that eventually, to the credit of Jakub Pysz, made this exhibition happen.


Lp2 Cave, August 2017, photo Krzysiek Handzlik

This page and its text by Primož Jakopin; send inquiries and comments to primoz jakopin guest arnes si (insert dots and at sign as appropriate). Page initiated on September 7, 2018; date of the last change: September 25, 2018.

URL: https://www.jakopin.net/exhibitions/2018BielskoBiala/about_the_author.php