I'll set off for a train journey to Prague with my Barunka in a minute. We are going for Czech Press Photo award ceremony. I've got two nominations. Even though I have succeeded in getting rid of all expectations so far, today is not a day when I can do so. I am a nervous wreck today!
No worries, I have not become boastful – it's wise versa. I am grateful. To be nominated along with the photographers to whom I look up every now and then, is extraordinary success for me.
My mum told me: "Be grateful just for the nomination, it does not matter if you win or not". She was right but I am not keen on being so bloody shy any more. Along with the other nominees I sent my photos to the competition with the idea that it's the best what I had photographed so far. I did not send any second or third best pictures. I reckon that everyone sends the best they have. We people tend to have the same relation to our ideas and work as to our children. We love them most. I wanna avoid this and will keep this in my mind while setting off to Prague today.
I didn't shoot those photo series because of the competition but at the same time the competition was my kick-off. As a wedding photographer (this attribute is already pretty tiring for me) I try to be a story-teller. The wedding pictures are almost free of charge from the effort perspective and I'm not kidding - the topic is given, you have enough time and space, people are fine with being photographed, you get food and drinks and everything is planned in advance. Is there anyone who would like to have an awful wedding?! Sometimes the weddings are full of emotions, sometimes they are flavoured with the latest trends on Pinterest. And apart from that, you are fairly paid for it. I actually don't know what I'm complaining about!:) Despite all these objections, I love wedding photographing. Even the Czech Press Photo Award cannot beat fabulous clients, who want honest wedding reportage that does not look fake! And actually what brought me to this idea (or these stories) was a doubt if I can capture the story also without the wedding generosity…
Here you go. The first nomination was for the series of photographs about Milada Horáková. I took them during shooting of the movie Milada. I spent there 30 shooting days and I've taken over 12 000 pictures. Almost 100 of them were released. I went there even on the days when I wasn't paid cause I was so enchanted by the Milada's life story. These 8 pictures are a reminder for me that communism is a rubbish!
The second series is about a sport matador, Jirka Soukup, already my friend whose 90 years of life I've portrayed. Over the time, I travelled 3 000 km to capture Jirka's life. But it's just a fragment of his travels cause he is such a vigorous and inspiring personality! Since I've known him, I've weekly run dozens of kilometres more and have been taking ice-cold shower every morning. Jirka is fantastic! I'll tell you even more about him cause my work on the series of photographs focused on him is still ongoing:)
Is it just a short-sighted boasting? Do the nominations reflect the so-called Czech "luck"? Not at all! There is really hard work behind it, lucky choice of topics and support of my Barunka, who always cheers me up to be a storyteller.
There is another point behind the whole event. What you give to life, pays off. Last May after our wedding I burnt out from photographing. My photographing and human example, Péťa Wagenknecht, was also nominated in the category Art for Kocian Violin Competition. It was him who told me at that time not to freak out and start photographing something different than weddings. I photographed Smetanka, the photo series nominated last year. This photo series retrospectively inspired him to photograph his this year's series. Today we'll sit next to each other as a teacher and a student which is the icing on the cake. We discussed together our series that apply for the 1st place in the same category. I'm really glad for his winning!
I am nervous for myself, Milada, Jirka and Péťa. Fingers crossed for us!