Female Lion Tamers
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Luskačová, Markéta "Girls playing with sweaters on the primary school playground", London, 1998; photo: © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023
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Female Lion Tamers

Agnieszka Rzonca
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time 12 minutes

In the space of the last hundred years, there have been five outstanding female photographers who have immortalized both famous people and the disappearing worlds of the Czech provinces. As it turns out, none of them took up photography by accident.

I can’t help it—when I think of photography in Czechia, the person that comes to mind is the fictional Tereza from Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. A wonderful, multifaceted heroine, who eludes all conventions. Just as we think we are beginning to understand Tereza, she makes a U-turn. Her view of the world, and the photos she takes, are equally unconventional. She took up photography unexpectedly, after moving from the provinces to Prague. As the novel’s narrator explains: “The elan with which Tereza flung herself into her new Prague existence was both frenzied and precarious. […] Tereza had a job in a darkroom, but it was not enough for her.” Soon she, too, started taking photos. Perhaps she was driven to do so by the same inner compulsion suggested by the bon mot of one of the most famous American photographers of the twentieth century, Dorothea Lange: “It is no accident that the photographer becomes a photographer any more than the lion tamer becomes a lion tamer.”

Lucia’s Light

Lucia Moholy was an artist from Prague who gained worldwide fame, although her work became known before she did. Moholy’s distinctive, sophisticated photos commemorated many of the accomplishments of the Bauhaus. However, over the years, her works were reproduced without credit to her, or were attributed to other artists. Moholy came from a wealthy secularized Jewish family, just like Franz Kafka, who was nearly a decade her senior. She studied history and philosophy in Prague before moving to Berlin, where she worked as an editor for various publishers. Her fascination with photography began in 1915, at the age of twenty-one, when she wrote in her diary: “The interest in photography awoke in me. I am a passive artist.

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The 12 Doctors of Przekrój
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Illustration by Marek Raczkowski
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The 12 Doctors of Przekrój

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How can we live better, fuller, and more peacefully? Recommendations from the world’s top specialists can guide us. 

There is a saying often attributed to Charlie Chaplin: “The six best doctors in the world are sun, rest, exercise, diet, self-respect, friends. Stick to them at all stages of your life and enjoy good health.” Although it wasn’t actually coined by Chaplin but comes from an old rhyme, the medical metaphor contained in this quote fits well with what we do. However, the Przekrój Clinic is run not by six, but by twelve, doctors.

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