Photo of the month of March


By March, the coronavirus pandemic had arrived in the Czech Republic, and the government decided to declare a state of emergency. The streets of the capital emptied, and this represented an opportunity for photographers to capture shots of the pervading solemn atmosphere. One such image was taken by Roman Vondrouš of the Czech News Agency, in which a women in a respirator walks across Charles Bridge.

Photo: Roman Vondrouš / ČTK – Pandemic

“This photograph was taken on Monday 17 March, during the initial days of the declared state of emergency in the Czech Republic. I’d been sent to take photos of a press conference following a session of the City of Prague’s crisis committee. Beforehand, I decided to take a short visit to Charles Bridge. I remember how struck I was that day by the empty streets, with one really only encountering the occasional individual in a face mask or respirator. I crossed Charles Bridge from the Old Town towards Malá Strana, and on my return there was a young women walking towards me wearing a respirator. I noticed intuitively that she would be photogenic. At the moment she passed me, I quickly knelt down and took about three shots. At that moment, I was doubly lucky. First of all, we had passed each other under the statue of John the Baptist, and second of all at that exact moment a flock of birds was flying in the sky. Frankly, I was so focused on the photograph’s composition that I wasn’t sure what type of birds they were (though they seem to be cormorants). When I reviewed the photo on my monitor, I immediately got the sense of it as a kind of symbol of hope and faith in a better tomorrow…” says Roman Vondrouš.

Roman Vondrouš

Roman Vondrouš was born in 1975 in Pardubice, and received a master’s degree from the Silesian University in Opava’s Institute of Creative Photography. He is currently continuing at the same university as a doctoral student. He has worked for many years as a photojournalist for the Czech News Agency. He is a laureate of the top prize in the international World Press Photo 2013 contest in the Sport category, and has received a number of awards in the national Czech Press Photo contest.

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