Exhibit celebrates 15 years of Czech Press Photo


In 1995 the Czech Press Photo competition was established to promote Czech photojournalism. Now the esteemed award is in its 15th year, and to mark that occasion, its organisers are holding a special show of more than 500 of the best pictures from all sides of life at Prague’s Old Town Hall. The founder of Czech Press Photo, photography theorist and critic Daniela Mrázková, spoke to our reporter Christian Falvey about developments in Czech photojournalism over the last 15 years.

“I think that the main change is in the field of spot news and journal news, because these categories of photojournalism practically didn’t exist during the communist era. So after November 1989 photojournalism in this country stood in front of completely new conditions. Our photoreporters began to travel abroad; they began to learn that they are free.”

Can you see a certain naiveté in the early work of the Czech photographers?

“Maybe, maybe, in the very beginning yes. Because they were not used to working among other photographers, the conditions were sometimes very difficult for them, they were not used to different situations in different countries. But they learned very quickly! Because now we see the results.”

There must be a lot of pictures that have left particular impressions on you. Can you tell me about some of them?

“Yes. I think the most famous picture of those 15 years was one made during the floods in Northern Moravia in 1997. It’s a picture of a dog swimming through a street in the town of Uherské Hradiště. And up to now it is a symbol of the floods in this country. And at that time the members of the international journey said ‘it’s very strange that the photographers in your country are able to depict such a dramatic, tragic event through a wet dog.”

The Best of Czech Press Photo exhibition will run until April 30, 2010.