The photos above were part of a selection of candid snapshots published online, by Vice Magazine. They’re raw black and white photographs which seem to foreshadow the gritty realism of the French Nouvelle Vague – yet the subjects themselves were unaware of the “photoshoots” and the artists remain unknown. The photos are from the Czechoslovakian Security Services Archives and detail individuals in streets, Piazzas, and restaurants. They all look like very average citizens – and they were all being surreptitiously captured on film by a State hoping to document some act of treason, or really anything anything that could incriminate them. The implications – Orwell grins in his grave – are especially resonant today, sixty years on.
These photos are from the Vice Magazine site, linked here, (where you can see more) but they are only a fraction of the pics collected in the book Prague Through the Lens of the Secret Police, published by the now apparently more-congruous-than-ever Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, in Prague, linked here.