This is the first publication in book form of the photographic set Serving It Cold: Photographs from Basic Training in the Czechoslovak People’s Army. It is a parable about whirling round a core of nothingness. The photographs reveal the world of men dragged into a trap that pretends to be a game about being soldiers. Today, many years after they were first taken, these original photographs by Josef Moucha seem like ghostly dirty tricks, staged with numerous extras in expensive stage sets. In fact, they are shots taken at the start of the 1980s, an unembellished, realistic look from inside. The photographs are introduced by Vladimír Birgus, a respected photographer and expert on photography: ‘It is the complexity of Moucha’s photographic diary from the army which contributes to his photographs evoking a geyser of recollections in everyone who experienced compulsory military service under Communist rule.’ ‘Unique amongst Czech documentary photographs,’ he remarks, ‘the set provides a many-layered view of compulsory military service in the years of the restored hard-line Communist regime, after the crushing of the Prague Spring reform movement in August 1968. In quality, size, and authenticity it is unparalleled in Czech post-war photography. [...] Their importance has become more evident with the passing of so many years, because they are not only the photographic diary of one conscript; they are also wide-ranging testimony about that period and about the conflict between individualism and totalitarianism.’
Vojna není kojná
Tomáš Weiss, Medzi knihami
Autentické fotografické momentky Josefa Mouchy ze základní vojenské služby v socialistickém Československu v letech 1981 a 1982 se objevují, pětatřicet let od svého vzniku, možná právě ve vhodnou chvíli.