Pictures from 1968 sought for exhibition

A contest seeks new images of life, art and politics from the crucial year

Many people who shot photos during 1968 in Czechoslovakia have never shown them, at first out of fear and later because they do not realize the images may be interesting to others.

The 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion on Aug, 20–21, 1968 will be remembered in a number of events. Czech Photo together with Czech Radio (ČRo) is a having a photographic competition to find unseen photographs of1968.

The photos don’t have to be of the invasion. The topic is open to everyday life in 1968, as well as memories of cultural events, sports and beauty. Entering the contest is free.

The project includes a website where the public can send pictures in digital form. They can also be mailed in. Photographs relating to 1968 can be submitted to the competition until June 21.

While foreigners living in Prague are unlikely to have photos of Czechoslovakia from 1968, they may know friends whose parents or grandparents are holding on to some unseen masterpieces.

An expert jury, headed by Czech photographer Herbert Slavík, will select the three best photographs. Other members of the jury include Oldřich Tůma, a historian from the Institute of Contemporary History at the Academy of Sciences (AV ČR); dramatist, screenwriter and actor Zdeněk Svěrák; Czech Radio CEO René Zavoral; photographer and curator Jana Žantovská; and Czech Photo Center Director Veronika Souralová.

Winners will receive Kč 30,000 for first place, Kč 20,000 for second and Kč 10,000 for third.

“Many photographers were not allowed to admit [taking photos] at that time, and their collections might still hide undetected treasures. We look forward to showing what 1968 was like in Czechoslovakia, thanks to many previously unknown pictures,” ČRo Radiožurnál editor-in-chief Ondřej Suchan said.

Selection from the competition photos will be accompanied by an exhibition of photographs by Oldřich Škya and Petr Šálek from the same period. Both shows will be at the gallery of the Czech Photo Centre from Aug. 15 to Sept. 16.

“One photo is often able to communicate more information and feelings than other media. That's why photography is the ideal medium for reminding us of the tragic events of 1968. We are glad to be co-organizers of such an important project, which will educate younger students and at the same time honor all the victims of the Warsaw Pact attack troops,” Czech Photo Center director Souralová said.

The Czech Photo Centre is run by the company Czech Photo, which also hosts the Czech Press Photo and Czech Nature Photo competitions and related exhibitions.

Czech Radio is preparing several other events and projects to remind the public of events in1968. These include films from that period, concerts and other performances.

Czech Radio played a key role in informing people about the situation during the night of Aug. 20–21 1968, and its main building on Vinohradská Street was fired upon by invading tanks.

The competition rules are also listed at www.rozhlas.cz.

Pictures can be sent to e-mail photo68@rozhlas.cz, or directly to Český rozhlas, Vinohradská 12, Praha 2, 120 00. The envelope should say "Soutěž – Fotografie 68" and have a completed application form that can be found online.

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