Photo of the month of February


The coronavirus was an issue gradually building up in intensity. In early February, Czechs who were at the centre of the epidemic in China were evacuated. Their return was captured by Dan Materna from the Mafra media group.

Photo: Dan Materna / Mafra – Return from Wuhan

“I was on weekend duty on 1 and 2 February 2020. On Saturday evening I was taking photos of the Czech Film Critics’ Awards ceremony at the Archa Theatre, and on Sunday of the concert by British rock band Keane at Forum Karlín. The whole weekend we were dealing with one of the biggest events of the weekend, specifically the return of five Czechs from the coronavirus epicentre, Wuhan in China. We found out at what airport and at what time they were landing. In the end, it seemed it would be Sunday night in the late hours at the “old” airport in Prague Ruzyně. And because I was in Karlín at the concert at that time, my colleague David Neff went to the airport. Upon my return, when I was at home editing the photos from the concert, David called me from the airport saying that the conditions for taking photographs at the airport were terrible, and it would be a good idea to try Bulovka hospital, where they were taking the evacuees. So I set off for Bulovka around midnight.

Shortly after my arrival, the ambulances arrived from the airport. There were only television crews present, and no photographers. The hospital’s security allowed us to work at quite an acceptable distance of ten metres. It all happened very quickly, with the evacuees disappearing into the bowels of the hospital in the blink of an eye. The funny story is that my girlfriend had no idea I’d left in the night, and when she saw the photos in the morning on the website, she was rather surprised,” says Dan Materna.

Dan Materna, MAFRA a.s.

Most of Dan Materna’s photography work for the agency goes to newspapers, magazines and news websites. He mainly takes photos of people: portraits of figures, political, cultural and social events, and also sport. He has received a number of Czech Press Photo awards including Photograph of the Year. He also wants to portray “pretty pictures”, to see the world positively. He takes photos of the country from a plane. The world from above is different, revelatory. He takes photos of the countryside; Šumava, Brdy, Krkonoše, from the air, and also civilisation, transport, towns and cities. He has taken photos of wild animals for many years. The deer rut each autumn is one of the most intense experiences in the Czech countryside. He often takes photos of his dogs, Golden Retrievers. While he has already published photo books in all these fields, he continues to focus on them.

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