Honza´s Story

The arrival of global capital in the Czech Republic was accompanied by growing individualism and a strong emphasis on performance. Many people were unable to withstand the pressure and, combined with alcohol consumption, they ended up on the street.

Salvaging books takes me a lot of time, but I have that in common with every working person. I may work for more than eight hours a day, and I get to run more kilometres at work.

These photographs were taken by Honza and in them he captures one day in his life.
Honza drank to cope with the high work pressure that was typical of certain positions in the 1990s. All that led to a divorce, in which he lost all his assets to his wife; and later he also lost his job. Because he failed to pay child support, he ended up in jail for a period of time. Having lost his home, he lived in a cellar for several years, spent four years on the street, and then started sleeping over at friends’ places. The sleepovers became a routine that had him moving between as many as seven different households.

He typically spent around 10 days in one before moving on to another. This has been his housing situation for the past ten years. He was a well-known figure in Prague. He earned his living by searching for disposed books and, as he put it, salvaging them from containers and selling them to second-hand bookshops. He also collaborated with the Skoba bookbinding shop and worked asa homeless tour guide with Pragulic. On 30 May 20 16 he passed away after a serious illness.