Beyond the Velvet (revolution): post-communist Europe in photographs


It began in 1992 when I arrived in Prague to work as staff photographer at Czechoslovakia’s first English-Language newspaper Prognosis, well after the country’s Velvet Revolution that brought down communism in 1989. At that time, I never thought I’d be spending nearly half of my life in the Czech Republic, living, working and later getting married and raising a family. Although I had never been there before, I felt an incredible sense of comfort and belonging as well as the feeling that this journey was meant to be.

It was an exciting time to be a photojournalist in Prague. The Iron Curtain had fallen, a new democracy was forming, the old Czechoslovakia was preparing to split, massive reconstruction projects were getting off the ground and expats from all over the world were flooding in to experience “The Left Bank of the 90s”. It seemed like there was a picture to be made around every corner – and there usually was.

Over the years through these photographs, I’ve tried to capture the unbridled sense of excitement, intrigue and wild abandon of the era, framed in the timeless beauty this region of Europe holds. I have consumed her and she has consumed me – and it continues to this day.

Kafka was right, “Prague doesn’t let go. This little mother has claws.”

– James Fassinger

This selection of  images is from a body of work that will be on exhibit at the Creative Arts Center in Pontiac, MI. September 25th – October 23rd. All 31 images will be posted and available for purchase after the exhibit opens September 25th.

Please see the Event Calendar for more info on the exhibition.

photo: Independence Celebration – Devinska Nova Ves, Czechoslovakia – 1992.