Alžběta Jungrová lives through photography. Not just any photography, but the interesting kind. She photographed armed children in the Gaza Strip, drug traffickers in Pakistan, waded through oil mud at the largest tanker scrap yard in Bangladesh and through the largest landfill in Cambodia. She exchanged all this for "ordinary" patients at the General University Hospital (VFN) in Prague's Charles Square.
Although she claims not to be adventurous, she's seen places we ordinary dreamers can only dream about. In any case, she's quite taken with medicine.
It's a kind of magic
"I've taken pictures in the operating room a few times, but one thing literally took my breath away - we often think about how fragile the human body is, but when you see it in the OR, you realize that everything can be fixed, taken out, put back in. We're not as fragile as we think,"
Jungrová opened up to LP-life.cz, adding that taking photos at the VFN was a long-term and pre-planned project. It was completely unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, but the current situation naturally made it all the more dramatic.
"A lot of things here are small miracles for me, a kind of magic. For example, when they implant a valve, the patient is conscious and able to communicate,"
Jungrová says, fascinated.
"It's unbelievable what we are capable of and it's a pleasure to witness it behind the scenes. Of course, it's also emotional, from photographing the birth to the work of the dentist, as well as fear in the eyes of patients infected with the coronavirus."
The life of doctors is fascinating
"With my photographs, I would like to capture all the essentials that are happening outside the doors in the waiting rooms and in the individual departments. Medicine is evolving very fast and just as everything was different in healthcare a hundred years ago, so a big shift will definitely come again in the next hundred years. I want to document the current situation,"
said Elizabeth, adding that few people can imagine what doctors and nurses go through in their effort to save lives. When asked if she wasn't squeamish around blood, she answered no, because the patients are covered during a surgery, so you often don't even know which part of the body is being operated on, but she is curious about her own reaction once she witnesses facial surgery, where you practically see the patient's face.
The exhibition will take place at the end of the year
So far, Jungrová has photographed patients with the Covid-19 disease at the General Hospital, documented the Department of Anesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Care, the lung clinic, IV. Internal medicine clinic, the Dental clinic, and ventured to the ORs of the Gynecology and Obstetrics Clinic known as the Apolinář Maternity Hospital.
The photographer will be visiting the VFN until the end of the year, when the exhibition for the 230th anniversary of the hospital should be established.
She said good-bye to danger
Her work has always been based on documents and reports. She worked for newspapers, spent several years in the USA and London, and traveled to various parts of the world for her themes. She decided to stop photographing in dangerous countries torn by poverty and war a few years ago. Currently, she makes a living by commercial photography, works on her projects and long-term documentaries.
"It's great that I can combine it all together, thanks to that, nothing ever gets old. I do travel, but a choose slightly different destinations. Sometimes I miss it, that can't be avoided, but at the moment I'm completely satisfied with what I photograph at home,"