“Photography is the only way to kill death”

Photographer Markéta Luskačová started her talk today by explaining why she chose photography before we could even ask the question. This isn’t uncommon for the loquacious Markéta—she is also our guide in Prague and has asked us questions, showed us sights and told us many stories. But Markéta began her explanation with one short but powerful quote from Jean Cocteau: “Photography is the only way to kill death.”

Markéta

Markéta went on to describe how the Czech word for taking photographs is roughly “immortalize”. She believes that photography is something that will continue after you die, whether it’s in a gallery or on the harddrive of a computer. Photographs are one small way to leave a legacy.

This idea hit me hard. For the past four days I’ve been having a ton of fun taking pictures of every interesting thing I see, but I haven’t really been thinking about the impact a photograph can make. Impactful pictures—pictures that show emotion, express an ideal—those are the pictures we want to take, in the hope that someday we can leave our photo legacy.

Markéta’s photos are truly amazing—she has photographed Czech pilgrims during the communist regime, interesting people from Londons market and a yearly carnival in Prague. Her photos relay a closeness and a real human quality that is rare. After her talk, we all finally saw this woman that has been our traveling mother as an incredibly talented photographer.

At the end of Markéta’s lecture, my mind jumped to the tribe in Africa that believes a part of your soul is taken away when you take a picture. They see this as a negative, but I see it as a positive. Photographs might not literally take our soul, but they do have a lot of our souls in them. We show our personality, our creativity and our passions through these pictures, because these pictures will be our legacy. Photography is our chance to become immortal.

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