The Czech Press Photo is a competition for the best photographs of the year taken by Czech and Slovak photographers. On Monday, the 8-member international jury announced the results of this year's event at Prague City Hall, where journalists were shown the winning photos. Alena Skodova was there and has this report:
The 8th Czech Press Photo competition featured over 2,300 photos by some 200 photographers. The international jury, comprised of renowned photographers from the United States, Russia, Hungary, Slovakia and other countries, had three days for selecting the best photos in eight categories, a single photo and a series in each.
I spoke with Thomas Hoepker, a member of the jury from the prestigious Magnum Photos in the United States, and began by asking him to assess the level of this year's competition:
"I think it's a high and professional level, it's probably not as good as the World Press Photo, but that's no wonder, this is a small country, and at World Press in Holland you get all the world, but in general I think the professional level was very high."
And was it difficult to choose the winning photo, was it a hard work?
The winning photo I think was the easiest. Especially for me. I walked into the room on the first day and I saw the picture of the drowning elephant and it became immediately clear that this was a very unusual picture and that it will probably make the first prize.
Can you describe the picture to our listeners?
"It's a photo taken from above and you see a lot of water, and in the water you see parts of the elephant, who is already submerged, you see the trunk coming out of the water, you see the ears, and the rest is already under water. And when you understand that the animal did not survive and had to be shot, becuase he could not survive the situation, then it's a very sad picture, but also it's quite a symbolic image of the floods, it's the essence of the flood, because it's condensed and you only see a few elements but you immediately know what's going on."
The author of the winning 'Photo of the year', called 'The last moments of elephant Kadir in flooded Prague Zoo' was freelance photographer Rene Jakl. He told journalists that witnessing something that horrible made him think twice about whether it was appropriate to take the photo at all, but he finally decided to take the shot to document the tragic event. In any case, he wants to use the photo to help the Zoo get back on its feet:
"I was thinking about some way how to help them through this photo to recover the ZOO, maybe the photo could go in an auction and the earnings could go to the funds of Prague ZOO. I will have to discuss it with them now."
For the first time, there was also a children's jury at the Czech Press Photo competition, and the Children's Prize of the Czech Committee for UNICEF went to a photo by David Neff, depicting an Afghan child soldier carrying a machine gun.
You can see the winning pictures on our website, while the photos which won awards at this year's Czech Press Photo will be exhibited at the Old Town Hall in Prague from late November to January.
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