Photo of the Month, February 2021- CROSS-COUNTRY SKIERS ON CHARLES BRIDGE


“This photo of cross-country skiers on Charles Bridge was one of the first in my new place of work; so one of the first I did for Seznam Zprávy. I joined during the Covid era, and so I hadn’t expected to be taking photos of a mass event so soon, although here there were probably more photographers than skiers. I knew there would be a lot of photographs from the bridge all over the place, so there were two options for how to do it. Either I could try to find an unconventional viewing angle, or else in contrast to try to go as traditional as possible and get Charles Bridge, plus Prague Castle and the skiers in the image – if possible in a neat composition. And, of course, neither did I want to have any photographers in the image. That was probably the hardest aspect. In the end, the resulting image is the traditional one. I think it best corresponds to the idea of the whole cross-country event, with one of the skiers telling me that he remembers old photos of Prague where people are skating under Charles Bridge, and he also wanted to create a similar special memory. I think a good press photo should give as clear a message as possible at first glance. So that there isn’t a need to give much of an explanation. This is the case here. When someone looks at a photo like this in a few years, they’ll only need one extra piece of information: specifically, the year. Then they’ll say: okay, that was 2021 when there was so much snow in Prague that you could even ski on Charles Bridge,” says the author of how the photo came about.

Photo: Jan Mihaliček / Seznam Zprávy / 400 ASA

Jan Mihaliček

Jan Mihaliček (1965) began his photography career in the period prior to 1989. He mainly took photographs for the Czechoslovak skateboarding and snowboarding community, and beginning in 1987 he began working with a number of samizdat projects. From December 1989, he worked as a press photographer for the Lidové noviny newspaper. He took photographs not just in Czechoslovakia, but also in many other countries around the world. After the departure of the Soviet army, he travelled across Afghanistan with Jaromír Štětina in order to create a series of reports which were the first to reveal the previously unconfirmed existence of Russian prisoners from the Afghan War in Pakistan. He took part in the first humanitarian trips to war-torn Yugoslavia and Nagorno-Karabakh alongside the Lidové Noviny Foundation, which over time became the respected Člověk v tísni charity. In 1994, he was a member of the newsmagazine Týden’s steering committee and one of its photographers. He received the top prize in the Czech Press Photo contest for his reports from flooded Ostrava in 1997. He focuses on social issues as a photographer and cameraman. The photographs he takes for himself are predominantly traditional black-and-white documentary works in the spirit of humanist photography. He is a member of the 400 ASA association. He currently works as a photographer for Seznam Zprávy.

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