Czech Press Photo 2001 announces winner

On Monday, the Czech Photo Foundation and the Syndicate of Journalists of the Czech Republic were proud to announce the winner of the 7th Czech Press Photo competition. The competition was held under the auspices of the Mayor of Prague, Jan Kasl, and the Minister of Culture, Pavel Dostal and the entries will be exhibited at the Old Town Hall in Prague from November 16th 2001 to January 15th 2002. By Dita Asiedu

195 photographers entered the competition with a total of 2148 photographs being submitted. According to Sergej Kivrin, a free-lance photographer for the Los Angeles Times and member of the jury, despite the large number of competition entries, the choice of the winning piece was unanimous and easy.

"Sometimes, it was very difficult to say 'this is better than that' but we saw several pictures about general events in the world and we saw excellent pictures from New York. It is the terrible horrible and most important event of this year, maybe of this century and of course it should be first prize - the Grand Prix - because it is an excellent picture of children who lost their father and its individual life of small people. That is more important than other pictures."

As Mr Kivrin revealed, the winning photo was shot in Coney Island and features a young boy and girl at the funeral of their father, firefighter Timothy Stackpole, who was one of the victims of the September 11th attacks on New York. The girl is clutching her father's helmet and clearly shows the deep sorrow felt by both the children. The Photograph of the Year prize - 100 000 Czech crowns in cash - was awarded to Michal Novotny, a reporter who was sent to document the aftermath of the attacks on the New York World Trade Center for the Czech daily newspaper, Lidove Noviny.

"I was very surprised because this year I felt that I haven't got a single picture that stood out. I am also very happy that I got a prize for my series because when you get a prize for one picture, it can be out of luck but when you get a prize for a series, it really means something."

The winning photo was, in fact, shot on the last day of Mr Novotny's stay in New York, and as he told Radio Prague, he almost missed the opportunity..

"I didn't know until the last moment whether I was going to go to the funeral because it was about 12 o'clock and I had to catch my plane back to Prague so I wasn't sure whether I could make it to the airport on time. I decided to go there and spent about forty minutes there and then I went straight to the airport and caught the plane."

There were a total of sixteen categories and the international jury voted on each of them. Tune in to this week's Arts programme for more about the of exhibition and the photographs in competition.