French Photographer’s guide to PragueJulien Magnan is born in Lille, in the north of France and is an aspiring photographer who now lives in Prague, Julien bought his first camera about 2 years ago after moving to Prague, and since then he has turned into a passionate photographer. Julien is not only a photographer but a he is also a musician and member of the band Vobezdud. Thus he has a good insight in cultural aspects of the city. As he says living in a place makes you see the city in a different way instead of what the eye of a tourist would see. To learn more have we decided to interviewed him
What prompted you to make the move to Prague?
Like many people, I came to Prague because my girlfriend is Czech. But this is not the only reason. The main reason is for music and the band I play. We tried to make it work out in as well France and the Czech Republic. Finally we chose Prague and since almost two years I have been living here. One reason for it became Prague was also that I was a little tired of the French mentality and thought it could be inspiring to try something new.
Was it difficult to adjust to life in Prague? What was the toughest thing about the transition?
The food was the most difficult aspect for me. But the culture was also something very different I had to adjust to. In France, no one follows the rules; it is shame if someone follows them! It is the Latin culture. Here in Prague, people are incredibly civil and respect all the rules. But I quickly adapted to the Czech culture. The people were very friendly because I’m French and many speak my language very well. People’s habits are also the opposite of France. To meet friends, we go to the bars or in “Hospoda”. In Paris, we meet in apartments. Here in Prague it is more like people prefer a more neutral location to meet.
Which part of Prague is your favorite and Why do like it?
I love “Letna” because this is my neighborhood! There are many small shops, cinema, authentic bars etc … For every days life is one of the best parts of Prague. As a photographer, I love central locations in the city center, even though this is where everyone goes there are so many unknown and unexplored places.
What kind of motives do you look for?
It is very variable. I mainly research stations or docks tram into town. Overall my specialty is architectural photography, and this is an aspect where Prague gives many opportunities for finding interesting motives. Another thing I have started to get into is making portraits or photos of live performances.
How do you get inspiration to your photos?
The photo must already be in my head before leaving for shooting, it is very important that I have an idea and can imagine how it will look before I make a shoot. Thus the idea is the most important thing. Once the idea and the concept is found I am going with my tripod and my camera and then I typically spend an hour to two on a location to find the right final frame.
What would you recommend visitors to Prague to go and see?
Museums of Modern Art in Prague, clubs in the center as such as Vagon or Rock Café. I recommend to be open and talk to local people they are often the best yo guide you to the best places. Just walking in the city and explore is also something I can recommend . I love just walking into town and discover new “Pasaz”. For fun parties Prague is really the place, there really are many places and it’s impossible to enumerate them all.
If you had to recommend one or two must-visit restaurants in Prague where would it be ?
The best evening for me is to start in the “Na Mělníku” restaurant and then a bar “Barré”. These two places are really authentic and well represent the Czech culture. My favorite Czech beer is Bernard Pivo 10 % , that’s one I can recommend.
How does your music play a part in your life in Prague?
Music plays a very important role for us in Prague. We rehearse once a week and we have between 30 and 50 concerts per year. The music scene is very open here in Prague and we play as well in bars for 20 people as in concert halls for 150 people, but also for interludes in large theaters to 300 people. An other thing that is amazing about Prague are all the festivals that take place here. We are often invited to play festivals, sometimes we have to refuse because of the schedule of all group members.
How would you describe the atmosphere in Prague?
The atmosphere is amazing here. It’s magical. This is a great city, it is a capital, but it is has a good “human” size, not like too large like Paris for example. Beer culture a very important aspect of Czech culture going for beer is kind of part of living here. People are always enthusiastic and eager to make something fun, go out for a show, or just for an evening in a bar.
What is the thing you love most about Prague? (If you had to choose just one thing!)
If I had to pick one thing, it would be music, and the never ending nights.