Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – this week another book to indulge in, Czech photographer Markéta Luskačová’s fabulous By the Sea: Photographs from the North East, 1976-1980. Find out how you could win a copy. Read on…
By the Sea – Markéta Luskačová
As my readers know, I love history so I was immediately drawn to this book of black and white photographs taken more than 40 years ago by Czech-born photographer Markéta Luskačová who moved to the UK in 1975. Three years later she was invited by Amber, a film and photography collective, to photograph the North East of England alongside Martine Franck, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Paul Caponigro.
The book By the Sea, features the pictures she took in 1976 when she first travelled to the North East of England as well as those taken in 1978 and 1980.
In the book Luskačová writes:
“I was thirty-two when I saw the northern sea for the first time. It was at Whitley Bay near Newcastle. The sea was grey, breathtakingly grey, as was the sky. But what was overwhelming for me were the people at the beach, dressed in their Sunday best. In spite of the harsh weather, the wind and the rain, they were enjoying their day out and making the best of it for themselves and their children.”
Drawn to the visual appeal of the seaside, its rugged beauty and the people who turned the beach into a playground year round, Luskačová, then a young mother, took her one-year old son with her as she photographed.
“Every day while packing the pushchair, nappies, food, baby bottles and camera bag I remembered the peasant women in the mountain village of Sumiac, in Slovakia, where I had photographed a few years earlier. The women there had taken their babies with them while working in the fields. I thought if they managed, I would too.”
Quickly the community embraced her and often other mothers would take care of her boy while she made pictures. For her son Matthew it was a great adventure where he could play with new friends each day. For Luskačová she was “not a voyeur, not a foreigner. Adversity turned into its opposite.”
Her photographs capture the personalities of these strangers, who welcomed her into their community and allowed her the kind of access that made it possible for Luskačová to create intimate, enthralling pictures. “I liked the people in the North East, I liked their faces. The sense of community is so strong there,” and this is obvious as the pictures in By the Sea convey.
Born in Prague in 1944, Luskačová may not be as well known as her more famous peers, but she is one of the foremost Czech social photographers. These pictures are rich with the nostalgia of a time when life was slower and entertaining the family as simple as the pleasure of a day at the seaside. Joyful, playful and filled with love and hope, these documentary images show us what’s possible when adversity is seen as opportunity.
Published by RRB Photobooks
Hardcover, Blue Cloth, 134 pages, Edition of 600
WIN A COPY: I have one copy of the book to give away. To be in the running, please send a photograph of yourself by the seaside. By sending the photograph you grant permission for publication on this blog and its associated social media platforms. Valued at 60 GBP. Send one photograph to: firstname.lastname@example.org Entries close: 1 December, 2019. Australian entrants only. Photo file size: 1200 x 800 150dpi