Capturing the soul of Prague: The Prague Diary exhibition at CAMP
At CAMP, the Centre for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning in downtown Prague, a new exhibit presents a mosaic of everyday life in the city through the eyes of Dutch photographer Iwaan Baan. The exhibit features thousands of images of Prague, shot on the ground level and from a birds eye view.
Over the next few months, locals and tourists visiting Prague have the chance to check out a free exhibition at CAMP, the Centre for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning here in the city that showcases the work of Dutch photographer Iwaan Baan. The exhibition showcases thousands of photographs Baan took of the city last summer, giving visitors a glimpse into everyday life here in Prague.
Štěpán Bärtl, head of CAMP, describes the exhibition as a window into daily life here in the city.
“This exhibit is called Prague Diary because we sent Iwaan on an urban pilgrimage through Prague. We dropped him off at the southern border of the city along the river, and he made his way up to the northern border. Along the river, he took pictures and captured the essence of what life is like in Prague, especially during the summer when you can really feel the heat waves and humid weather that most people use to get out of the city.”
As Štěpán explains, the exhibit presents a snapshot of the mundane here in Prague, not just images of the tourist centre and historical monuments we are used to seeing of the city.
“Anyone who knows Prague knows the picturesque centre and all the aspects of this: the Charles Bridge, the spires and the red roofs, but we asked Iwaan not to do that. His photographs probably would not make it into PR photos for the tourism board, they show a Prague which is very mundane and ugly in some parts. It’s like the way we experience the city as the locals who live here, it’s a magical place, but it’s still an unpolished diamond in some parts. It’s the idea that you have this ground zero in some way with the Charles Bridge but if you move 10-15 minutes in either direction, you have people fishing along the river or bathing, and it doesn’t look like a Unesco heritage site, it’s just a place where people live.“
When it comes to visiting the exhibition at CAMP, Štěpán believes it’s an experience both locals living in the city and visitors just passing through can enjoy and learn from.
“For the citizens of Prague, it’s a nice reminder and gives a snapshot of where we’re living at this time. For tourists, it’s a way to put into contrast what they will be seeing when they first arrive at the airport, which is typically just pictures of Prague Castle. It will show them that this is also Prague. One of the reasons why Iwaan Baan was such a great person to do this project is because it was also his first time in Prague when he came to do the exhibit. So it’s all about him seeing Prague for the first time. Tourists can come in the summer to see the exhibit and compare it to how they have experienced the city so far.“
The Prague Diary exhibition will be running at CAMP till August 20. It‘s free of charge and open to everyone who wants to experience a Prague less known.