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Czech press photos show global interest

“The fact that Czech photojournalists are going to places like Sudan, Sri Lanka, Laos, North Korea, and so on says something about the interests of Czechs in far away countries.”

As said by Czech Republic Ambassador Jaroslav Olsa Jr. during the opening of the Czech Press Photo exhibition in Hongdae.

Czech Press Photo is an annual competition and exhibition rolled into one, presenting an independent photographic testimony of life at home and abroad as seen by professional photojournalists living in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

This year Olsa arranged for the competition to have a judge from South Korea.

A wearer of many hats, Korea’s Lee Yong-hwan is not only a Chungang University professor, president of the Daegu Photo Biennale and member of the Society of Korean Photographers; he is also the first judge from an Asian country at this prestigious competition.
Daegu Photo Biennale president Lee Yong-hwan (right) and Czech Tourism director Choi Soo-myung discuss the news events behind the pictures displayed at the Czech Press Photo exhibition at Castle Praha in Hongdae, Seoul. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)
Daegu Photo Biennale president Lee Yong-hwan (right) and Czech Tourism director Choi Soo-myung discuss the news events behind the pictures displayed at the Czech Press Photo exhibition at Castle Praha in Hongdae, Seoul. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)

The aim of the exhibition, which runs until March 19, is to enable the public to witness the events and phenomena of the previous year.

It also attempts to motivate photographers and stimulate the development of photojournalism as an industry.

“Photojournalism, whose modern image has been developing since the second half of the 1920s, is not just a simple visual recording of events and happenings, but goes far beyond the visible reality,” said Daniela Mrazkova, director of Czech Press Photo.

Held at the Czech Info Center in the iconic Castle Praha restaurant in Hongdae, the photos display world events shown in an artistic manner all under one roof.

The photos hanging on the center’s walls were selected by the ambassador, something different from other exhibitions of this kind organized by embassies.

“I selected these photographs on the basis that I either liked the photos or (because they are) somehow connected. For example, some of the pictures taken were from my friends,” Olsa said.

All photos on display are among the winners of the Czech Press Photo competition.

The philosophy behind the Czech Press Photo contest is to be an independent visual testimony to life away from commercialism and the many pressures of the media world.

The exhibition “shows that we are not only a country offering old historical sites, (but that there are also) plenty of other things. My personal opinion is that it’s good to show that the Czechs are interested in the world,” said Olsa.

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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