From the day photography came into existence, the desire to document unique events related to all of the fields of human activity was born. A countless number of individual collections full of captured moments are spread around the whole world recording history for future generations.
The Czech Republic does not offer many options in this field. Let us remember the first public project named ‘The Last Book of the Century’. This project documented 24 hours on the 10th of October in the year 2000, a rare combination in Roman numerals – X.X.MM. The project was created by photographer Adolf Zika, who found inspiration in the 1986 worldwide project ‘A Day in the Life of America’. In both cases, a group of photographers joined forces to capture various themes relevant to life on our planet in a selected time segment. On one hand, it was a unique occurrence, on the other, it expressed the course of events of a single day from the angle and perspective of several hundreds or thousands of photographers, who usually chase the biggest sensation and search for the rarest moment with the hopes of joining the ranks of the best.
|Silly Season, author: Míla Štáfek|
Suddenly, a new thing has appeared. A project, which does not focus on capturing the uniqueness of a given day, but on the contrary, deals with the ordinary lives of individuals from anywhere in the world, in the time period of 7 consecutive days. All of a sudden, it is no ordinary memorial of a short time segment in form of a book or a large exhibition. Day by day, a new characteristic photo album is formed and keeps expanding, available to be seen at any time by anyone from anywhere in the world. A place where cultures interact with traditions and different perspectives of the world. You surely know by now that I am talking about the project called Week of Life.
Today’s world full of social networks, blogs and various communication gadgets, requires for a single click and everything is at the user’s disposal without the need to do anything else. The same applies to photography. Several million internet sites offer more than billions of photographs from the whole world. You can distribute them into several groups. The most obvious group of photographs would consist of all the perfect portraits, images of animals and landscapes, often found in different internet photo galleries. The other common group would consist of the exact opposite – family celebrations, birthdays, and vacations. The former group is admired for its beauty and perfection, the latter is condemned by anyone who does not see a familiar face or themselves for that matter. The Week of Life project has existed for some time and is under continuous development. When you dig in deeper, you find out that it’s not just about photographs in the greatest quality. Amateurs cross paths with professionals and the same applies to the range of quality of the photographic equipment owned by the members. You can find contributions from world famous photographers next to a week submitted by a crazy young student documenting her life with a cell-phone. This unbelievably large spectrum of people shares the conditions of documenting their set, equally contributing to the overall value of the project. By looking at internet photo galleries, we find out that top professionals rarely meet beginners who use low-end equipment. The quality of the photographs, their technical aspect or their quality of composition is a certain bonus available for the viewer.
|First week, author: Sergei Rogozkin|
„You can find contributions from world famous photographers next to a week submitted by a crazy young student documenting her life with a cell-phone.”
It does not end there however. The combination with a person’s profession or the country of origin makes it ever more interesting and increases the uniqueness of the project. By now it’s evident that graphic designers submit weeks of high quality, but what about the cooks, women on maternal leave, electricians or sailors? Everyone contributes with his or her own perspective. Somebody is detail-oriented and his week is full of artistic photographs. A different author will present his life in ordinary raw photographs depicting everyday life. Many will not be satisfied with only one week and make a habit of it, others will coherently document their life for several months. For some people, the project has become a part of life. We come to realize how family pictures consisting of 9 photos per day and some basic rules can suddenly interest the eyes of many. Long forgotten family albums on the internet are transformed into a week of a person or his family. Comments from other members, who like to compare and contrast who, what and how and experience the fates of others, can often be an influential ‘whip’ for those who have contributed and wish to continue in their documentation further. There will certainly be a WoL member meeting in the future, official or unofficial, where members will meet one another for the first time in person, but will know each other quite well from all the photographic depictions of their lives on the site.
|A little girl, author: Xiong Jun|
All of the above mentioned and much more plays in favor of the WoL project. However, there is a certain responsibility that comes with joining the project. Abiding by the rules is obvious, but what about adjusting your life for your next week? Many of you will now say that this is not your case. But to be honest, who hasn’t experienced the time when you were about to capture an interesting moment found through your viewfinder and regarded it as a perfect image for WoL? Seeing the world in a brighter light is still a common factor with many of us, suggesting that we prefer beauty in pictures over a valuable and precise depiction of life. There are even some that struggle to adapt their life to attract such moments into their lives. For instance, there are weeks that show strong weekends, but rather bleak week days. In reality, that is often the case. We enjoy our free time during the weekend and our activities tend to be much more diverse. During the week, we spend most of our days at work, a tedious and non-photogenic image for the camera. A vacation is exactly the opposite, but it says a lot less about the person’s real life, gaining its real face only after we see more weeks from the person. When someone tries to adjust and enrich his or her life just for the sake of the audience, the project is taken out of proportion and is less beneficial for the future generations as a result. It’s not important to show the best photographs from life; it’s important to disclose life just the way it is.
|My week, author:Eva Mueller|
„It’s not important to show the best photographs from life; it’s important to disclose life just the way it is.”Future generations will have all the information they need about the lives of people of various ages, professions and origins. They will be able to investigate and compare our common lives. It’s a pleasant site at how the project has consumed so many people, becoming a part of their everyday life. It’s not mere entertainment however; decisions and responsibilities are involved regarding our attitude towards capturing life as it is, with commitment and without prejudice.
|About the Author|
|My name is Zdeněk. I am a 30 year old married man with two children. I was born and have lived my entire life in the city of Znojmo (Přímětice part), to which I have become attached. I graduated from the technical school of food-processing technologies in Pardubice after successfully finishing my pastry-cook apprenticeship. During my mandatory civil service, I worked with the mentally handicapped, which urged me to prolong my studies in the pedagogic field. For the past 7 years, I have been working as a special education needs teacher and I have spent my last 3 years working at a boarding school, part of ‘Special schools of Znojmo’. Regarding photography, I became acquainted with this medium in the year of 1999 as a self-taught amateur, when I tried out a manual SLR that belonged to my father, a photography enthusiast. In the field of photography, I prefer documentaries, primarily from social and rural environments. It has also become a part of my monthly earnings. During the season, I photograph weddings and cultural events. My profession as a special education needs teacher is still my primary source of income and photography stays as my biggest hobby. My biggest achievements include 1st place in the ‘Photographer of the Year’ competition in the years 2008 and 2009, 3rd place in Czech Press Photo 2008 in category ‘Everyday life’ and also the opportunity of being able to work for the Week of Life project as a photo-assessment manager. In the foreseeable future, I would be happy to devote myself to photography in the way that it stays as a hobby that I can enjoy, not as a source of income. I would be more than satisfied if photography served me as a tool for documenting everyday life and exploring foreign countries and their cultures.|
|Weeks of Zdeněk Dvořák|