Photo of the Month – April 2021: Michal Fanta – BIRD FLU


“During the month of April, an outbreak of bird flu occurred at a number of farms in the Hradec Králové Region. Fire-fighters and the Veterinary Administration had to put down tens of thousands of hens and ducks. Hundreds of professional and volunteer fire-fighters from across the region helped to dispose of the birds. Groups took turns doing two-hour shifts under difficult conditions and requiring great physical exertion with fire-fighters having to dispose of the birds wearing protective clothing. This photograph shows them waiting for decontamination in the “danger zone”. I noticed the reflection in a puddle produced when they were cleaned with disinfectant and water, in which there were feathers from the exterminated birds. You could also see how tired the fire-fighters were after their hard work. This was the largest action of its type in modern history for the Hradec Králové Region Fire Department. I wanted to show the work of the fire-fighters without directly showing the actual extermination of the birds, but rather focusing on the atmosphere and the effort the fire-fighters had to expend in every task they were faced with, regardless of what it actually was at that particular moment,” says the author.

Photo: Michal Fanta / freelancer

Michal Fanta

Since 1987, when he was born, Michal has lived in Nové Město nad Metují. He became fascinated by press photography at secondary school, since which time he has been taking photographs. After studying at the Prague School of Photography, he worked as a camera operator and freelance photographer for local media, such as Deník, MF DNES… In 2014, he became a core photographer for the Hradecký deník newspaper, for whom he worked until this March when there were staff reductions, and so he is freelance once again. Over his entire career in photography, he has borne witness to the work of the emergency services in addition to his work in press photography, such as the work of the Hradec Králové Region Fire Department.

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