Czech Press Photo Exhibition 2021
by Maddie Jacobson – Anglo-American University
A mixture of strong emotions is immediately felt upon entering the Czech Press Photo exhibition at the National Museum. Surrounded by images capturing the earth-shattering world events of the past year, sadness, joy, loss and unity are simultaneously evoked.
the Exhibition of Czech press photosopen until October 31, 2022, features Czech Press Photo contest winners along with other notable submissions.
Located in the center of the National Museum in Wenceslas Square in Prague, this exhibit is a must-see for everyone from documentary photography enthusiasts to those who simply want to see the events of the past year from a different perspective.
The Czech Press Photo Contest is currently in its 27th edition and highlights Czech and Slovak photographers who capture daily life and significant events in the Czech Republic and around the world. This is the second time that the National Museum has hosted this exhibition.
The exhibit features notable submissions from the 2021 competition, the Photo of the Year winner as well as the sub-category winners.
The photo of the year was taken by Petr Topic with the title “Destruction”. It depicts a young man standing with his head in his hands, surrounded by rubble and the foundations of his destroyed house.
The photo captures the personal pain caused by the sudden and destructive tornado in Mikulcice, Moravia on June 24.
The exhibition has sections by themes and world events. A strong emphasis is placed on Covid-19, especially at the entrance, as its impact is considerable and therefore still deserves our attention. At the entrance, a photograph by Lukas Biba shows a doctor treating a patient in a hospital bed.
The photo is taken from outside the room. This series of Biba also includes an image of the Beatles song “Let it Be”, and in the background, blurred, a Covid patient in a hospital bed.
In a series with a different perspective related to Covid-19, there are photographs of patients undergoing Covid tests. The images, titled “Tests”, were taken by Richard Domos. It includes portraits of individuals undergoing nasal swab tests, while making comical faces. Matched with so many of the saddest images depicting the Covid pandemic, this comic relief is needed.
Everyone remembers taking uncomfortable Covid nasal swab tests, and seeing this in a humorous light is a reminder that living through the pandemic was a universal and almost unifying experience.
Other events captured in the exhibit include the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, a newly opened circus, protests against the mask and vaccination mandate, the 55th Karlovy Vary Film Festival, and clashes between the police and street gangs. Although Covid took up a significant portion of the exhibit, other themes were touched on to give a fuller picture of what 2021 looked like around the world.
Overall, the Czech press photo exhibit is emotionally impactful and reminds us of the events we endured together. However, his display of some of those dark times isn’t gratuitous, and it’s done with respect. It is also associated with images of positive times throughout the year.
For those visiting Prague for a few days or long-term residents, the Czech press photo exhibit is truly a must-see.