"Photographic Prague" competition knows its winners for 2001

Main Page of 'Photographic Prague', dedicated to the competition

The Old Town Hall in the historical centre of Prague is currently hosting an exhibition of photographs which were entries in a competition entitled 'Photographic Prague'. Alena Skodova was at the opening ceremony on Tuesday and has this report:

Looking at the exhibited photos was a nice, and in a certain sense a new experience for me as a person who knows Prague quite well but is used to seeing all its historical sites mostly on commercial post cards. The photographers who entered the competition looked at the city from substantially different angles, more entertaining and more humorous ones. To find out more about the exhibition and the competition itself, I spoke with one of its organizers, Mrs. Vera Mateju from the magazine Fotografie.

Mrs. Mateju told me that the competition Photographic Prague was held for the 6th time last year. The venture is intended to promote the legacy of the great Czech photographer Josef Sudek, who loved Prague and took thousands of photos in the city. The main goal is to show the countless faces the Czech capital has, that's why the competition is open to professional as well as amateur photographers and even foreign tourists, who took pictures of Prague during their visit, can enter the competition.

The competition has several categories which are the same every year. They include 'The beauty of Prague and its transformations', 'The problems of Prague' and 'The capital's chronicle'. In addition, special categories are created every year, and last year's themes were 'Trade and advertising' and 'Life in the city's suburbs'. This year it's 'Gardens, parks and trees' and "Relations among people.'

Last year's wining photograph was taken by Ota Richter, a Czech photographer, who lived in the United States for 37 years. His picture, showing balloons above the National Theatre looked a bit absurd to me, and I asked him if he had expected he'd be the winner?

"Actually, I did. I gave myself a task that I'm going to make the most banal pictures of Prague, which were the National theatre and the castle. And then when I took the pictures I was thinking what to do with them. But in the meantime I was in California and I took pictures of balloons, hot air balloons, and I combined it on a digital camera together, and when I submitted the pictures I was absolutely sure I was going to win."

After 37 years in California, Mr. Richter came back to Prague because of his passionate love for the city:

"I have returned, my children still live in the United States, but I just want to spend last years of my life in this beautiful country. I'm really in love with this city and that was probably the main reason why I've come back."

So if you've been to Prague and feel you have taken nice photos, don't hesitate to send them to the magazine Fotografie - they might be displayed in the Old Town Hall next year!

The address is:

Fotografie - Magazin

Senovazne namesti 23

110 00 Praha 1

tel., fax: 02/ 24142723