Originally from California, Matthew Thompson moved with his wife, to her hometown of Ostrava, an industrial city in the Czech Republic, near the border with Poland, at the end of 2011.
After spending a number of months poring over various photo books, Matthew bought a second-hand camera, and began taking pictures.
Masopust, Fašank, Fašiangy, is the Czech/Slovak version of carnival, the celebrations before the start of Lent.
Traditions are stronger in smaller Czech villages, away from the cities, particularly in Moravia, although the pictures in this series, are a mix of those taken in villages, and those in more contrived celebrations, in cities like Přerov or Ostrava, or in “skanzen,” preserved ancient Czech villages.
This series is a small portion of an ongoing larger body of work exploring the triangle around Ostrava; the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia.
Using the religious calendar and traditions as a framework, a jumping off point, it is an attempt to explore an adopted region, through participation and engaged observation.
Whether in village celebrations before Lent, walking for days with pilgrims, following anti-Roma rioters as they pass under the window to threaten the Roma neighborhood, or whatever is of interest, it is an attempt to communicate as someone might write a novel about a place, using visual language.
It is an ongoing project, and its final direction and the ending remains to be seen.@positive_mag on twitter for the last updates