2019 Photograph of the Year a symbolic photo of the demonstration at Letná Park


(Prague – 22 November 2019) At the official awards ceremony for the jubilee 25th annual Czech Press Photo contest in the Old Town Hall’s Brožík Hall, the winners of the photo and video categories were announced. The title Photograph of the Year was awarded to a symbolic image of a flag waving over the heads of thousands of demonstrators at Letná Park taken by Lukáš Bíba of the Economia media company. The international jury selected the winning images from almost four thousand photographs by 270 authors.

“The winning photograph of one of the mass demonstrations against the Czech prime minister is a symbol of the complex political and social context in the country. Thirty years after the fall of communism, society is again divided: on the one hand there are passionate anti-government protests, and on the other the governing party remains the most popular one in polls. The winning image is full of emotions and poses questions in a simple, compelling and instantly memorable way,” says Daniela Mrázková for the panel.

“Like most of my colleagues, I was endeavouring to show the protests at Letná from all possible angles. First I took photos from below at the stage, and then I made use of my access to the roof of the Molochov building, from where I was able to take a photo of the 250 000 people there. We all captured similar scenes – from the protesters below us to those “picnicking” at the edge of the roof to people waving flags in multiple ways,” says Lukáš Bíba of how the photograph came about.

Eight photography categories and three video categories were set up this year. 270 photographers took part, submitting almost four thousand photographs in total. Submissions were made electronically over the course of the whole of September. Our expert international jury looked through the entrants from 10 to 12 October at the Czech Photo Centre gallery, comprising: Chairman, photographer Petr Josek; Czech Press Photo founder Daniela Mrázková; Director of World Press Photo programmes David Campbell; teacher and VU pictures editor Pascal Philippe; Director of Panos Pictures Adrian Evans, Czech photographer Herbert Slavík; curator Lucia Benická; photographer Amak Mahmoodian; and picture editor Colin Jacobson.

From its beginning, the contest has included the Prague Grant – a year-long creative scholarship awarded by Prague City Hall for capturing the transformations the capital city has gone through. Over time, this has created a large collection of photographs documenting Prague and its development. The Prague Grant was personally chosen by Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, who visited the Czech Photo Centre gallery on 11 October.“I chose this particular set of photographs because it portrays the other side of tourism in Prague in an urgent and easy-to-grasp form. Tourist draws whose almost negative aesthetic and cultural value disfigure the face of our city are things which we are endeavouring to actively eliminate from our streets and squares. That’s why I think it will be good for there to be greater awareness of these photographs, helping to strengthen our endeavours. In future, they will then be of documentary value,” says Prague Mayor, Zdeněk Hřib.

This year’s winner of the Prague Grant is Jan Rasch, who won the Prague Grant with his Prague Freak Show project. “The city centre is becoming a freak show of tourist attractions. At one place you can see a polar bear, panda and Mickey Mouse. Thus the city is gradually losing its genius loci and becoming a popcorn Instagram city against the backdrop of Prague’s streets, which tourists will soon exchange for the streets of another city,” says Jan Rasch of his series of photos.

Alongside the Prague Grant, the author also received the Pictoart Award for the printing of the exhibition which will take place following the completion of his year-long work in the Czech Photo Centre.

The awards ceremony is followed by an exhibition of the winning and other selected photographs and videos of the 25th annual Czech Press Photo contest, which is taking place from 23 November 2019 to 30 January 2020 in the Cloisters and Knights’ Hall at the Old Town Hall in Prague. The exhibition will be open every day from 10.00am until 7.00pm. Standard entrance is 150 crowns, or 70 crowns for concessions.

Further information and photographs available at www.czechphoto.org.

Contact details and further information: Public relations – Anna Vacková, +420 777 093 690, vackova@czechphoto.org

The CZECH PRESS PHOTO 2019 contest and exhibition are organised by:
Czech Photo, o.p.s., and Prague City
logo MHMP under the auspices of the Czech Ministry of Culture and Prague Mayor
General Partner: Trigema
Partners: Siko, Koupelny Ptáček, CEWE, Econtest, Renomia, Berlitz, Pictoart, Canon, Eizo, Samsung, ProCeram, Nielsen, Olympus, Newton Media, FotoŠkoda, Charles University Faculty of Social Sciences
Main Media Partner: Czech Radio Radiožurnál
Media Partners: Právo, Novinky.cz, Reflex, National Geographic, Prima ZOOM, ČTK, Lidé a Země



1st place: Matej Kalina, News and Media Holding, a. s. – Eyes of a murderer. Reconstructing the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnirová. The photograph shows Miroslav Marček, who confessed to the murder. The reconstruction was conducted under strict security measures and the photograph was taken from a great distance away.

2nd place: Lukáš Bíba, Economia – Protests against Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš. Around 250 000 people gathered to protest against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in the biggest political rally since the fall of communism in 1989. Letná Park, Prague, 23 June 2019. The protesters demanded the Babiš’s resignation following reports he had illegally profited from EU funds.

3rd place: Matej Kalina, News and Media Holding, a. s. – Journey to the Palace. The story of the first Slovak female president, Zuzana Čaputová, on her journey to the presidential palace.


1st place: Petr Vrabec – On 27 October 2018 and 22 June 2019, thousands of activists blocked the coalmine infrastructure in Germany’s Rhineland region for several days in the Ende Gelaende mass act of non-violent civil disobedience.

2nd place: Tomáš Vocelka, Economia – Overtourism. Overtourism is becoming a huge problem for ever more places. Most afflicted in the Czech Republic are Prague, Český Krumlov and the Adršpach-Teplice Rocks. Crowds of visitors congest the narrow passes in the Adršpach Rocks, especially on sunny weekends and on public holidays. This was also the case on 15 August, when nearby Poland was celebrating the Feast of the Assumption. Car parks were full, and the police closed access paths. Local citizens were again faced with the key question: How can the flow of tourists be regulated while not affecting tourism revenue?

3rd place: Jan Zátorský, Mafra, a. s. – Unique Chassidic wedding for the first time ever in Prague, June 2019.


1st place: Roman Vondrouš, ČTK – Prime Minister in the White House. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš undertook a three-day working visit to the United States, where one of his activities was meeting American President Donald Trump at the White House. They discussed a wide range of topics, including security, migration, mutual trade and co-operation in science and research.

2nd place: Tomáš Benedikovič, Denník N – Kočner. Charged with ordering the murders of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnerová, Marián Kočner hides from journalists’ cameras in a police car after his properties in Bernolákovo had been searched on 16 October 2018. He had very much enjoyed media attention until he found himself in a police cell.

3rd place: Petr Topič, Mafra, a. s. – Czech government learns about bark beetle epidemic. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Finance Minister Alena Schillerová inspect forests infested by bark beetles on 15 May and learn about the measures that have been taken to fight the forest pest. Also attending the event was Environment Minister Richard Brabec, Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman, Forests of the Czech Republic CEO Josef Vojáček and Governor of the Vysočina Region Jiří Běhounek. Bílovna, 15 May 2019.


1st place: Michal Růžička, Mafra, a. s. – Rain in Prague’s Anděl neighbourhood. Rain in Prague’s Anděl neighbourhood: a tram driver fruitlessly attempts to throw the switch during a sudden downpour on 6 June 2019.

2nd place: Jan Hromádko – Potemkin Stairs. The main tourist attraction in Odessa and its many little stories.

3rd place: Jan Jirkovský – Dog-assisted Therapy at the Duchess Emma Home for Seniors. A picture of dog-assisted therapy at a home for seniors in Neratovice.


1st place: Martin Divíšek, EPA – Swan Lake at the Czech National Theatre. Swan Lake is one of the most well-known classical ballets, the most frequently produced and most popular around the world. A new production by the National Theatre in Prague revives the version of the story created by world-renowned choreographer, John Cranko, founder of the Stuttgart Ballet. Czech National Ballet is the first large company to acquire approval for its performance outside Germany. The Czech National Theatre has arranged 12 adaptations of Swan Lake to the present day.

2nd place: Marek Malis – Balet Hommes Fatals. Mathias enjoys a cigarette before returning to the stage as his alter-ego Ludmila Bezspakatova.

3rd place: Amos Chapple, Radio Free Europe – A forgotten communist. A roadside memorial overgrown by vegetation in the northeast corner of Bulgaria.


1st place: Jan Kepič – The Ice-Skater and the Free-Diver. The crystal clear ice of Milada Lake in north Bohemia allows for an unusual meeting of sportsmen. Petr Kapoun (54) ice-skates on the surface of the lake as David Vencl (36) free-dives below.

2nd place: Martin Kozák – Ice Speedway. A small ice-speedway contest at a snow-covered lake near the village of Hamr na Jezeře.

3rd place:: Tomáš Holcbecher – Jockey Ben Maher falls from his horse, F One USA, during CHIO Aachen 2019.


1st place: Kateřina Šulová, ČTK – Soňa Červená. Opera singer, mezzo-soprano and alto, Soňa Červená.

2nd place: Ivana Dostálová – Michaela Wenzelová. National Theatre Ballet soloist.

3rd place: Michael Tomeš, Deník E15 – Lady in Black. Showing no emotions and dressed in black as a symbol of mystery and sadness (black helping us to not get lost in our ever-changing world), this is one of the faces of Czech High State Attorney Lenka Bradáčová. The photograph was taken for the E15 daily newspaper.


1st place: Petr Topič, Mafra, a. s. – The Bird Watch. This year marks the tenth year of ornithologists’ bird capture and banding operations in Červenohorské sedlo. Over those ten years, they have put rings on over a hundred thousand birds. One thing the project can state is how environmental changes have impacted the bird population.

2nd place: Aleš Tvrdý – Coal Warehouse. Coal is transported to the city of Kao-Siung by freight ships. In order to lower levels of airborne dust particles, the coal is deposited in large warehouses which are enclosed from all sides. From there, it is later distributed to power plants. At first sight, it might appear that this place is from another world, or perhaps it might be a space ship.

3rd place: Dan Materna, Mafra, a. s. – Controversial Pigeon Hunting in Český Brod. Pigeon hunts took place on 2 and 18 February in the centre of Český Brod. These hunts were ordered by the town council.

Partner Awards:

The Canon Junior Award for young photographers was won by Sebastian Vošvrda with his photograph of a collective performance based on the human voice.

The Award of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was won by Ján Husár with his series, Refugees in the Shadow.

The Committee of Good Will – Olga Havlová Foundation Award was won by photographer Anna Šolcová and her series, Energy Poverty. Nearly a quarter of Czech households are at risk of energy poverty. The main vulnerable groups are pensioners who must pay for heating in large apartments which were once occupied by the whole family, rural households in the country, single parents and unemployed people who live in houses or apartments with large energy losses, and of course the homeless.

A ten-member child jury also met as part of the evaluation of this year’s Czech Press Photo contest, comprising members of the Disman Radio Children’s Choir. Working with the international panel, they chose Jan Jirkovský’s submission as the best picture, which documented dog-assisted therapy at the Duchess Emma Home for Seniors in Neratovice.

The Czech News Agency internship for a young author up to 26 years of age, which will take place at the agency, was won by Denisa Albaniová for her collection, A hundred years defending the state.

The Czech Press Photo contest has now started to collaborate closely with the Association of Professional Photographers of the Czech Republic in awarding the APF and ERA – Project 101 Award. APF management selected the set of photography, Devils and Demons from Moravian Wallachia by Petr Topič.

Through an online poll, readers of Lidé a země magazine selected Jan Kepič’s picture entitled The Ice-Skater and the Free-Diver.



1st place: David Macháček, Czech Television – Hunt for the Entrepreneur. Is one allowed to speak of the crimes of the 1950s? Yes, but without giving the names of those behind it. This is the experience of Mrs Vévodová of Valašské Meziříčí, when she told her father’s story for the local newspaper in Bojkovice. The editorial board decided that they would print the story, but not the names of the communist officials who were responsible for her family’s misfortune. This bears the ugly name of censorship.

2nd place: David Vondráček – Lady Republic. The woman who was born on the day Czechoslovakia was established.

3rd place: Miroslav Petráček, Czech Television – Sincere Regret. It’s an awful picture which has resurfaced over sixty years after the event. These privileged communists confess to crimes they have never committed with tremulous voices. You will be able to hear their flagellant speeches for the first time in our report. Researchers from the National Archives who are processing this unexpected discovery in Panenské Břežany, uncovered last spring, have given us access.


1st place: David Macháček, Jana Neumannová, Czech Television – Double standard. Mr Trefný worked as director of the Tax Office in Příbram. Except he then calculated a million-crown tax adjustment for one of Agrofert’s companies. This report shows you what happened next, and also maps out the interventions of the tax authorities against other companies. Here, the tax administration instead intervened in an irregular way and the state is required to pay out compensation of hundreds of millions.

2nd place: David Vondráček – Munich Betrayal? About us without us.

3rd place: Lenka Klicperová, Markéta Kutilová – Defeated. Islamic State, which took up a third of Iraq’s territory and half of Syria’s territory, is on its last legs. It was defeated last year in Iraq, and now the battle for its final village in eastern Syria is playing out. We spoke at the front line not just with soldiers, but also with people who are leaving Islamic State for refugee camps and who make no secret of the fact they are going to miss the caliphate.


1st place: Andrej Štuk, Jarmila Štuková – Aleppo reopened. The story of Aleppo, which has been destroyed by civil war, is incredibly complex. By bringing together the human story with economic data we get an outlook on Aleppo’s future in an important context. We made the decision for an unconventional format: scrollytelling, into which we have implemented infographics, videos and text.

You can find the nominated photographs and videos at the website www.czechpressphoto.org.

Source of photographs: Czech Press Photo

Download press-kit pdf

Main photo: Martin Divíšek

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