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Prague Photo Festival –by Hana Jakrlova


Prague spring is dedicated to photography: In April, the fourth annual Prague Photo Festival takes place in the beautiful Bauhaus building of Manes on the river, with over thirty galleries and vendors displaying their work. There are over fifteen photography exhibitions accompanying the festival throughout the city, in other galleries, museums and institutions .

Still somewhat under the radar of international curators and photography media, Prague Photo gives a good overview of what is currently happening in the world of Czech photography.

There is a saying in Czech – “It is small, but it is our own”. There is a lot to be said for it. With budget being a fraction of the big international festivals, the Prague Photo Festival allows small local galleries to participate, as well as schools of photography.
At the opening on Monday, art school students mixed with curators and handful of collectors… Pretty much everyone knowing everybody else, the atmosphere was not unlike a large party.

Iva Nesvadbova is the festival organizer and the director of Gambit Gallery – small place in the center of Prague, focusing on contemporary Czech photography. With the help of several local sponsors she put together Prague Photo four years ago, and for the next year, she would like to involve neighboring countries in the festival, such as Hungary and Poland.

The best thing about this festival is that it brings photography people together”, sais Nesvadbova. “We all know each other, yet sometimes we are hardly aware of what exactly it is, the other gallery or school is doing”. The main goal of Prague Photo is to showcase Czech contemporary photography and to remind people of the history of Czech photography, according to the director.

Some galleries focused on the classics – such as the dormant Prague House of Photography that presents Jaroslav Rossler and other photographers of the thirties, and Czech Center of Photography showing lesser known works of Josef Sudek. The PPF investment group (and one of a few Czech photography collectors) decided to show their latest acquisition – the portfolio of 12 photographs of Jaromir Funke.

Most exhibitors are however keen on presenting the contemporary works – Leica Gallery in Prague shows young photographs working in black and white, such as Tereza z Davle, Gambit Gallery presents color photographs of Tereza Vlckova, Michal Seba and Zurkovi. Artinbox, a new private gallery directed by photographer Nadia Rovderova, shows her own works together with several other artists Susan Pastor, Peter Zupnik and Milota Havrankova in a group show “Love is Blind, Sex is Elsewhere”.

The most interesting presentation is undoubtably the photography schools section. The Institute of Creative Photography run by curator Vladimir Birgus shows young talents such as Bara Prasilova and Jaroslav Kocian, and FAMU (the Film School of Academy of Arts) presents Tereza Havlinkova and Rune Egenes, among others.

Every year the winner of the UniCredit Bank Young Prague Photo Award is announced during the festival, honoring a young photographer under the age of 35. This year’s winner is photographer Jan Pribylsky, from the Chemistry Gallery.

Hana Jakrlova

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