At age eighteen, Markéta Luskacova speculated how little of a mark she would make as a sociologist. Statistics of human beings discontented her because they clashed with her belief that each individual is so immeasurably dissimilar. Today, she stands before us a renowned photographer from the Czech Republic having made a big mark through her impressions of those individuals known globally. Many of Markéta’s ambitions evolved during the communist era in Czechoslovakia. One of Markéta’s earliest projects was in Sumlac, a village in Slovakia, where pilgrims befriended her. Intrigued by their sense of duty and integrity, she believed these people did not have a chance to survive much longer, so she needed to document them. Markéta’s work has since then been shaped by a unique purpose to “lesson the longing of the streets.” Shooting street markets, musicians, carnivals, children and the working class on the beach captured individuals trying to make the best of their situations. Markéta gave her photographs another life and in closing of her presentation quoted her inspiration, “we do not photograph people as they are, we photograph them as we are.”
“My advice to you? Take a photo everyday.”
As a group of students all in different stages of life, love, and decision-making, we are all still in search of our unique niches and with that a side of true bright and shining confidence. Libusé Jarcovjáková began her photographic journey quite timidly, only shooting subjects from a distance and never capturing their faces. She decided to become a part of the working class, joining her subjects in order to capture socialism and eliminate that distance she was once so comfortable with. Her mission was accomplished at the age of nineteen; she had involved herself in her work and from then on only continued to. After a shoot with Gypsy couples and families at a celebration, Libusé received many of their home addresses in order to deliver their photos. Friendships grew with different families and soon enough, Libusé was welcomed into their home to photograph their personal lives. With a little more self-assurance, she left Czechoslovakia in 1985 to live in Berlin. At this time, it was still a war city and she started from zero. No German, no friends, no job. She spoke of her loneliness and often emptiness, but her desire to travel and feel unrestrained overpowered those thoughts. Libusé often took photos with her iPhone and when asked why she responded, “My camera 5D Mark II was too perfect, nothing is that perfect.” In her last project, “My Mother and Me”; we followed her search for her relationship with her mother after suffering a stroke. These photos captured on an iPhone allowed Libusé to travel with her ‘mum’ through her journey. From start to finish her work was inspiring and motivational. Libusé captured such raw and honest photos because of the confidence she gained in approaching her subjects and engaging in their journeys, all the meanwhile creating her own.
These two encouraging and admirable presenters followed by an adventure into and around the Prague Castle provided us with a better understanding of Czech history and culture that will forever enrich our esprit.