Photo of the Month, December 2020 New Year’s Celebrations at a Housing Estate


“It was my last photo, the last event of the “Covid” Year of 2020. I was thinking about how best to portray the end of this peculiar year. Because a state of emergency had been declared meaning a curfew was in place, the Head of News at ČTK and I decided that I would take shots of New Year celebrations somewhere at a housing estate. This was so as to capture the phenomenon in which people are at home for the day, basically celebrating in a different way. I’ve taken a lot of photographs of New Year’s Eve in the centre of Prague many times, and I actually don’t really like it. The noise, chaos, the crowds, the drunks all around and also the worry that someone might steal my camera. This year was different. Shortly before midnight it felt like I wasn’t going to get a photo of anything. The estate of Jižní Město was deserted. There were only clusters of police officers checking the curfew was being observed. The windows of the flats in the estate were dark, obscured by blinds; it was not at all as I had hoped. I regretted my decision not to go to the centre. But at the stroke of midnight, people began to look out of the windows of the concrete panel apartment blocks and set off rockets from balconies or hold sparklers to celebrate the arrival of the new year – as shown on my photo – in a modest and small-scale manner. It was an unusual feeling – standing on the normally busy streets of the largest Czech housing estate during the final seconds of the old year, entirely alone,” says the author.

Photo: Michaela Říhová / ČTK

Michaela Říhová

I was born in 1974 in Hodonín. Since my childhood, when I received my first SLR, I’ve enjoyed taking photos of live events. After studying at a photography vocational school, I went to the Secondary Graphic Arts School. I arrived in Prague in 1995 to take part in a recruitment process for a position as a photography assistant at the MF Dnes newspaper. When I left there, as a photojournalist, I worked for Večerník Praha, and then for another 11 years for the Právo newspaper. Since 2018, I’ve been working for ČTK, where I take photographs for all areas of news including politics, culture and my favourite photojournalism discipline of sport.

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