Migrant crisis dominant theme of this years’ Czech Press Photo

Winning photo by Jan Zátorský, photo: CTK

The winners of the annual Czech Press Photo competition were announced on Monday. The main prize was given to Mladá fronta Dnes photographer Jan Zátorský for his photo of migrants trying to cross the Serb-Hungarian border. The topic that clearly prevailed in this year’s competition was the migrant crisis.

Winning photo by Jan Zátorský,  photo: CTK
The international jury in this year’s 21st Czech Press Photo competition selected from 3,700 photographs submitted by around 300 Czech and Slovak authors. The winning picture by photographer Jan Zátorský was taken in September of this year and won both the main prize, the Crystal Eye Award for Photograph of the Year and Best Picture in the Spot News category.

I asked the chairman of the jury, photographer Petr Josek, if the decision was a unanimous one:

“In the beginning we had some arguments and not everyone was for this picture, but after some arguments we eliminated the ones that in my opinion were not as strong as this one. The rushing people, the faces, the desperation expressed in their faces, all this mass and chaos framed in a really nice image that all just told me from the beginning that it could be the picture of the year because in my opinion it really describes the situation of the exodus really well.”

Photo by Roman Vondrouš,  photo: CTK
While the Spot News and General news categories were dominated by the migrant crisis, the head of the Czech Press Photo, Daniela Mrázková, says there were some other major themes covered this year, including the situation in Ukraine and Russia and the war in Syria. The head of the jury, Petr Josek, says that he was most impressed by a series called Havana Cars by Czech News Agency photographer Roman Vondrouš, who won in the Everyday Life category:

“I really liked the series of daily pictures from Havana, depicting 50 and 60-year old limousines in the Cuban capital. I found the pictures really visually very attractive and very nice. They are very colourful and with a good mood. One of the jury members said that it was music for him. So this was a really nice story.”

Among the domestic topics that dominated in this year’s Czech Press Photo was last year’s demonstration against President Miloš Zeman, photographed by Petr David Josek. The photo captures the president’s security team protecting the head-of-state with umbrellas from eggs being thrown by the protesters.

Photo by Petr David Josek,  photo: CTK
A year-long grant awarded by Prague City Hall for capturing the transformation of the Czech capital was given this year to Martin Frouz from Charles University for his pictures of the reconstruction of the Jan Hus memorial at Prague’s Old Town Square.

The best photographs of this year’s Czech Press Photo competition will be on view at the Old Town Hall from mid-December until the end of January 2016.