Monday, July 6, 2020

Tomas Princ’s Photography and Humanity of the Moment

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Tomas Princ is a photographer and a filmmaker from Prague. He is also the author of a story-telling blog Humans of Prague and the “Under the Hands” (Pod Rukama) video series.

It is Tomas’s belief that images and film help people to really see.

He has dedicated his talent to the craft of giving voice to people and objects and also depicting the raw nature of emotions and feelings through the images and film.

Driven by the desire to view the world through other people’s eyes, Tomas has been working as a freelance photographer and filmmaker since 2012, though his love for creative expression had started much earlier in the 90s.

Earlier career and Visual Anthropology 

Having graduated from the Higher Professional School of Journalism and inspired by Jan Spata’s, the famous Czech documentary film maker’s humanistic aspects, Tomas followed a similar path drawn by the topics of Visual Anthropology. Following his studies at Charles University in Prague, Tomas’s thesis for his Bachelor’s degree was devoted to examining how kids living in a Roma settlement in Slovakia viewed their living space. Tomas gave them single-use cameras in an attempt to observe the world through their eyes. Some of the findings were that the living space and the space for growth was rather confined and most of the time spent within the closed community and the nearest surroundings in seclusion. However, children also felt the importance of a school where they went with other children not belonging to the Roma community located in another village.  

Another finding through the pictures that children took was the strong bond to a family and the actual concept of a family in the Roma culture. Most of the photos that the children took were of their family members (including extended family).

Children also showed that the aspect of home for them was where their immediate and extended families lived and also the places they visited day in and day out. 

Pictures also showed what children loved in their environment – the clouds and nature, and also what they disliked – broken houses and broken roads.  

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Looking at the pictures taken by children one can see so much purity and dreaminess.

They express the beauty of a humble environment but yet focus on value and a sense of belonging.

During Tomas’s studies he also started working as a freelance photographer and a filmmaker. Coupled with a desire to learn about foreign countries, Tomas had undergone two long-term volunteer stays outside of Europe. In South Korea where he taught English to high school students and Kenya (Nairobi) where he worked as a photography and video making teacher as part of a non-profit organization called MYSA.

Tomas let children take the shots of their modest surroundings where they lived in Nairobi however showing that their desire to learn and live was exactly the same as of any child in another country – full of hope for change and more beauty.

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Humans of Prague

Between 2013 and 2017, Tomas had been taking long strolls through the streets of Prague with his lenses, approaching random people and asking them if he could take a picture of them. Tomas borrowed this format from a well-known project Humans of New York which emerged in 2010 by the efforts of a photographer Brandon Stanton.

Besides taking pictures of strangers, Tomas would engage with them in personal conversations where they would share with him their life stories, their happy moments, and at times even their hardships. The snippets of these discussions were published on the Humans of Prague blog and Facebook page. In total Tomas had managed to collect nearly 1500 stories, 235 of which were eventually published in a Humans of Prague books (two editions in English and Czech languages) in October 2017. The books can be purchased in all book stores in the Czech Republic and online. 

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Documentaries

Tomas has also worked on a documentary series about Czech craftsmen and artists called “Under the Hands” or Pod Rukama. The series describes the craft and talent of Czech artists who work in various areas of art – painting, glass making, sculpturing and many more.


Pod Rukama Episode about the glass maker Vladimira Klumpar directed by Tomas Princ
Publisher: (c) Happy Materials, Prague, 2019

Blog

Tomas also has a personal travel and picture blog where he depicts the essence of a city and its inhabitants’ mood in incredible shots he takes. These pictures are equal to thousand words and truly show an inseparable bond between the place and the people who live in it.

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If you are interested in Tomas’s work and wish to have your pictures taken or your event covered, please, visit Tomas’s page for more details at www.tomasprinc.eu

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