When the idea of setting up something similar to a squat was sparked in Ostrava, there were a few freaks willing to be a part of it. We were esoteric fans, gossipers, activists, hippies and peacemakers. […] However, the key principle was to save money to get more wine.
Zuzana Sramkova, Spodni Proud, 2015
Spodni Proud (Undercurrent) (2011 – 2015) by a Czech photographer Zuzana Sramkova documents a close-knit community from the Spodni Street in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Spodni Proud is a place nobody wants to live in, as Sramkova told me. And yet a close-knit community of activists, musicians, and alternative party-goers developed in that neighbourhood. The photographer, who was very much part of that group, managed to portray the Spodni Street inhabitants – her neighbours – and their friends in an incredibly honest and intimate way. The images reveal daily lives of the community, as if we belonged to it.
Sramkova contacted me ages ago about publishing this series and as soon as I saw the photographs, I was struck by how raw and fresh they feel. One could say Spodni Proud oscillates somewhere between the work of Boris Mikhailov (especially his Wedding book) and Nan Goldin, and still it’s very different from both. Sramkova’s project, just like a photo-diary, is a patchwork of visual quotes – portraits, blurred party shots, nudity, images of the Spodni street and of grey, post-communist blocks. Although at first sight chaotic or perhaps incoherent, for me this diversity of scenes, colours, and compositions creates a sincere document of this community.
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