David Sládek is Czech independent photojournalist and photodocumentarist living in London and a former reporter for the Czech News Agency. Since moving to London more than a decade ago he has been focusing his photographic work on life of...
The last three plus years, I spent photographing protests and places full of people - the more the merrier - as the UK was going through painful recognition of the Brexit referendum and other social causes moved to the streets. With coronavirus lockdown I found myself unable to travel outside of my sleepy town and indeed often unable to leave house for many days in a row. Whilst many photographers took he challenge and started photographing essays on their new lives, portraying key workers and people with face masks, my only access was the nearby Thames and a path full of people but unwilling to any photography. To get over the vacuum I decided to venture into film photography and purchased an old panoramic 617 camera. Protests being illegal, the only crowds willing to be captured were the large groups of swans profiting from frequent feeding by staying-at-home-with-one-exercise-a-day locals. I haven't touched analogue shooting for the last 15+ years and wasn't very good at it before either, so starting on a challenging fully manual panoramic beast which eats a film in 4 clicks, was likely a mad idea from he start, but hey, I prevailed. And who knows, maybe I take this behemoth to some future protests when they return. Still, somehow I have a feeling that the massive civil awakening of the last three years is at a risk of being diminished and relativized with the COVID era. And, seeing the tons of covid related projects I am asking myself: will anyone ever look at my protest pictures again? So, instead, I offer you my swan attempts. N