Photo by Lukáš Bíba from Prague Hospital.
Czech photographer Lukáš Bíba, who also works for the Czech media, has published a series of photos from the Royal Vinohrady University Hospital in Prague. On Instagram he shared emotional images of the ARO, including patients fighting the infection coronavirus. He also captured the lens showing moments when some lost this fight.
Lukáš has been documenting the pandemic in the Czech Republic since spring. In May, during the first wave, he photographed an intensive care unit at Bulovka Hospital in Prague. He certainly sees the difference between the individual periods.
In the spring, families struggled to say goodbye to, visit, and support their loved ones. It is currently working so I was able to take pictures of these moments. There are of course things I cannot publish and the photos are only from the family. But then there are the images that I am allowed to publish after the agreement. And they are all the more emotional, ”says Lukáš.
During the second wave of the pandemic, he spent several days in Královské Vinohrady. “The shooting was plus or minus in the same way as in the spring. If someone goes to an ARO box where a positive patient is lying, of course he has to put on a suit and protective equipment,” he recalls.
He photographed the rest of the photo series from the end of October to mid-November. He spent a total of tens of hours in the hospital. It was far from an ordinary photo shoot, when he needed one or two illustration photos for a newspaper.
‘It just struck me then. I also didn’t want to distort anything. I wanted to show the work of the paramedics and the real atmosphere that prevails there. I stayed there for about seven or eight hours of the 12-hour shift, ”he explains, adding that he also returned to the hospital after a week on these days.
He released his friend’s father, the Beatles
During the photo shoot, he also met an acquaintance in the hospital whom he had not seen in ten years. She came there to say goodbye to her father. It was one of the first days that Lukáš started shooting this series. He shared on Instagram the moment he played the Beatles song Let it be to her father.
“I couldn’t save the life of my friend’s father. Well, playing his favorite music in his last moments was the least I could do for him, ‘he wrote.
Source: Instagram / lukasbiba
Lukáš also shared photos of paramedics taking the bodies of dead patients to the morgue. When they told me that one of the patients had died, I recorded everything that happened until the ambulance arrived. Finally, how they got the patient to the morgue. I do not want to make it clear that I am recommending the mother to be inactive. On the contrary. I wanted to show the facts and show what’s really going on with the pictures, ”he explains.
The talented photographer also wanted to show the conditions in which paramedics work. He recalls that paramedics should be in protective suits at all times and undress them after transporting each deceased. They also have to disinfect the entire ambulance. And they do this over and over. It is also a challenge for them.
Lukáš took photos in the hospital at a time when the Czech Republic was in very bad shape from the point of view of the epidemic. “It was seen that the doctors had their teeth full and that they were tired. They do their best and try to brighten it up with humor from time to time, otherwise they would go crazy,” he describes.
I’ve overcome Covid, but I’m still careful
When comparing photos from spring and autumn, he was a little concerned in the first case. It is a disease that no one initially knew about. There was no cure, not to mention the drug.
First of all, people are thinking about keeping him and his family healthy. But my professional duty did not allow me to go there. I told myself it was an unreal historical event and we don’t know if it will last a month, two or a half years. Ultimately, it’s still there, ”he says.
When he photographed the hospital during the second wave, he already knew what he was getting into. “I beat Covid myself. Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t get him anymore. I don’t feel scared, but I certainly don’t underestimate him and respect the whole thing. All the more because I have seen with my own eyes what he can do with people. Even with people my age. They were healthy people, not overweight, nor elderly people in risk groups with associated diseases. It also trained those who were active, ”the photographer recalls.
They saw loved ones thanks to his photos
Lukáš claims that such photos are among the photographer’s most powerful experiences. But when he takes pictures, he is rather “hidden” behind the camera. Even though it may not affect me right away, all feelings will reach me with a delay. I think it is perceived the same way by different photographers working in tense situations. It doesn’t have to be a war zone, the hospital environment or other places are sufficient, ”he says.
He also admits that the feedback in photos is not positive in all circumstances. He will also be approached by those who criticize the photos saying it is just a media massage. In his own words, he respects it, it’s their opinion.
Source: Instagram / lukasbiba
But on the other hand, there are also people who even thank him. ‘A lady called me in the spring. She was happy because I took a picture of her father, whom she had not been with for a month. She told me that at least this way, thanks to my photos, she could see it after a long time, ”she admits.
After the last of the series, Lukáš received a patient who was in the hospital with his mother-in-law. Sadly, he succumbed to covid. “The gentleman thanked me that my photos would remind him of moments together. You can’t call it joy, but you are glad that you are not doing your job completely unnecessarily and at least can make someone so happy in a sad time”, adds the photographer.
Also read: We testified to health workers caring for covid patients: we are tired and neglecting our families