iwan baan takes us on an urban pilgrimage through the city of prague

iwan baan takes us on an urban pilgrimage through the city of prague

‘iwan baan: prague diary’ on show at CAMP 

 

Last summer, renowned architecture photographer Iwan Baan was commissioned by the Prague Institute of Planning and Development to visit and capture the Czechian city for the first time in his life. For seven days, with a camera in hand – on foot, on a bike, and from a helicopter — he explored the center, the periphery, and the landscape along the Vltava River, documenting Prague’s everyday, raw character — miles away from the glossy pictures in tourist guides. These photographs are now showcased in a unique exhibition entitled ‘Iwan Baan: Prague Diary’, running until August 20, 2023, at CAMP — a multimedia gallery and urban planning hub. 

iwan baan takes us on an urban pilgrimage through the city of prague
image © Iwan Baan

 

 

spotlighting the city’s raw character 

 

Conceived as an imaginary urban pilgrimage, ‘Iwan Bann: Prague Diary’ at CAMP unfolds into four thematic levels – starting with the city before moving on to the center, the periphery, and finally, the natural scenery. The visitor can wander through them and get lost in their various nooks. A large-format projection of the exhibition hall is dedicated to Baan’s aerial photographs – offering the unique opportunity to see Prague from unusual angles and unsuspected contexts. On the opposite wall of the hall, the exposition reveals almost all the photographs he took in Prague; raw, unedited, and random. Accompanied by an audio commentary by Iwan Baan, the visitor can thus get a glimpse into the ‘behind the scenes’ of the photographer’s creative method. 

iwan baan takes us on an urban pilgrimage through the city of prague
image © Iwan Baan

 

 

I always try to get to know each new city in a very intuitive way. I try to let go of different expectations and draw inspiration directly from the place itself and the encounters that happen here. It’s good to visit landmarks and think about why that particular place is important to people, but at the same time you also need to turn your gaze in the other direction and observe what’s happening where people actually live. I would say that this kind of interaction is perhaps even more important in capturing the story of the city’, says Baan.



iwan baan takes us on an urban pilgrimage through the city of prague
image © Iwan Baan

 

 

Elaborating on the content of the photographs, Ondřej Boháč, Director of the Prague Institute of Planning and Development
, writes: ‘Iwan Baan does not limit his photographs of Prague merely to notorious and sought-after locations but focuses also on the neglected ones. He also maps important brownfields such as the Žižkov Freight Station or the Vltavská metro area and captures them in their raw state. Baan focuses on buildings near the river, industrial buildings, transport infrastructure, islands, the landscape, and the busy and quiet life around it. From the contradictions he creates a mosaic which he has used to put together an urban portrait that visitors can see at the exhibition in CAMP.

iwan baan takes us on an urban pilgrimage through the city of prague
image © Iwan Baan

 

 

Prague is of course significantly defined by its landscape – especially by the shape of the flowing river on whose banks the city was gradually built. It is interesting that even though you cannot see the river from many places, you constantly feel its presence in the city. It is in aerial photographs that this interrelationship between the city and the river comes out very well. For me as a photographer, these moments are very valuable because they give me what I am looking for – the connection of details to the whole‘, continues Baan.



iwan baan takes us on an urban pilgrimage through the city of prague
image © Vojtěch Veškrna

 

 

As for the inspiration behind the exhibition title, Iwan Baan revisited one of the captions on his Instagram account — ‘A diary of travels with the iPhone’. This idea of endless wanderings through the city from one end to the other, recorded in the form of a pictorial diary, has been part of the Prague exhibition concept since the initial idea of a joint project.
 ‘The historical architecture of Prague reminds me a lot of big metropolises like London or Paris. But what’s different here is a certain contrast between that grandiose urbanism with its grandiose architecture and the sort of very pleasant relaxedness of the rest of the city‘, concludes the photographer. 

iwan baan takes us on an urban pilgrimage through the city of prague
image © Iwan Baan

iwan-baan-prague-diary-iwan-baan-designboom-full-4

image © Iwan Baan

iwan-baan-prague-diary-iwan-baan-designboom-full-1

image © Iwan Baan

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