In April 2019, photographer and AAU lecturer, Björn Steinz decided to document the sheer scale of the tourist phenomenon that has overcome Prague and has since updated his work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the project: Since the early 1990s Prague has emerged from almost half a century of relative isolation behind the Iron Curtain and a tourist influx began. One of Bjorns recent projects included setting up a tripod in popular tourist spots and letting the long exposure on his camera take in the ebb and flow of the tourist masses, showing Prague as a moving, flowing sea of people coming to admire its famous historical sites. 

One year and the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic later, Prague is deserted. Tourists are nowhere to be seen and for the first time in decades, the Czech capital is empty, briefly returning to a reality that preceded the arrival of mass tourism. Björn returned to the same locations where a year earlier he had jostled for space to set up his camera and photographed the eerily deserted streets and tourist sights.

In 2018, around 9 million people visited Prague – that’s 9 tourists for every resident. In 2020, under the shadow of the global pandemic, the “City of a hundred spires” has briefly returned to a former state, a short breather before the arrival of the next cohort of tourists.

To see Bjorn's work please visit: https://www.panos.co.uk/news/prague-von-pandemonium-to-pandemic/

Photogallery


Publication date: May 28, 2020