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Photographer's Note

1974, behind the Iron Curtain.
Another scanned slide from my first visit to Prague. The same melancholy grey Summer morning as my earlier shot.

This time, from the Charles Bridge looking at the exquisite, gothic Old Town Tower, and beyond towards the old city itself. The Charles Bridge and tower date from the 14th century; for 400 years this was the only bridge across the Vltava River in Prague. Under those circumstances the tower itself was used as a watch-tower and defensive fortification.

Today, any guide book on Prague will tell you about the huge crowds of people and pick-pockets who gather along its half-kilometre length, especially in Summer. In 1974, I was the only mid-Summer tourist on the bridge that morning, and only a few people were about, mainly workers heading to offices. Even in this not very sharp scan one can see the dull grey outfits and bleached hair that passed for a 'blonde' look amongst Czech women in those days. Are there enough people in the scene to justify the 'daily life' tag? I was tempted to upload a b/w version, but the blue sweater on the right side of the bridge seemed almost like a focal point, and the various hues of the buildings' somehow showed through. The baroque statues of saints and rulers were black with grime. It seems such a long time ago.

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