The Museum of Avant-garde

Karel Hájek

Czech Republic (1900—1978)
Trained as a smith, Hájek was called to the front for WWI, to return just before the proclamation of Czechoslovak Republic and settled in Prague. In 1920 he discovered photography and got a job with the Prague Transit Authority as tram conductor, taking pictures of people and Prague streets from his tram unique viewpoint. In 1932 he became member of Czechoslovak Reporters’ Union: he produced numerous stories and reportages for newspapers and magazines. In 1937 he started to work for LIFE magazine and captured some of the most significant moments in history, from the Prague Revolt to Nuremberg Trials. After WWII he became the most influential photoreporter of the Republic, documenting events in society, culture and industry.