To mark the 10th anniversary of the floods in Prague, an exhibition called PRAGUE UNDERWATER will run from 26th July in the Czech Photo Gallery (Prague 1 – Lesser Town, Ujezd 19). It introduces 90 unique pictures of the historic moments of drama taken by 31 photographers from the Czech photographic elite. They photographs are unique, unusual, often almost surrealistic. They take the viewer on a journey through the capital, starting with the area where the five-hundred year flood entered the city from the south, onto Smichov, the Lesser Town, the Old and New Towns, Karlin, Troja, Holesovice and all the way up to the northern boundary of the capital. The story, told in pictures, is full of tension, emotion and human need to protect people’s lives and possessions, including Prague’s historical sights.
A representative publication of the same name with 200 photographs from 44 photographers and text in Czech and English will be available. The book’s range is even wider than the exhibition: it includes a chapter called A Lesson from Moravia which reminds of the disastrous flood fifteen years previously, in 1997, without which the rescue operations in Prague five years later would have been more difficult and would have resulted in an incomparably greater damage and more wasted lives. Equally, the book pays deeper attention to the individual sections of the capital and individual incidents - the ZOO, museums, rescue operations, unusual views of
well-known buildings, clean-up operations, human stories.
A “Pragensis” like PRAGUE UNDERWATER has never been published before.
The book and the exhibition have their origin in an exhibition put on by Czech Photo o.p.s. at the Old Town Hall soon after the floods, in Autumn 2002, answering a request from the Prague City Hall. The exhibition was very successful with Czech and international public and after the premiere in Prague it travelled to the United Nations in New York, to acquaint international politicians, through the testimonies of Czech photographers, with the Czech natural disaster. At the time it was automatically assumed that a picture book of this historically valuable collection would be published, and it would not only spread the photographers’ “eyewitness” testimony but also preserve it for future generations because photography, as is well known, is a memoir. But for various reasons there was no will to publish the book. Therefore Czech Photo o.p.s. decided to publish it, covering the costs, on the 10th anniversary of the event, which undoubtedly belongs among the biggest natural disasters of modern Czech history. This important historical event, just as the exceptional work by the photographers, deserve it. Czech Photo o.p.s. regards it as it’s own duty to photography as a memoir and to future generations. However, the publication of this book would not be possible without the special understanding from photographers and their newsrooms. Thanks go to them above all.