Slovak freelance photographer Matúš Zajac received this year’s "My Life with a Handicap Award” presented within the Czech Press Photo competition by the Committee of Good Will - Olga Havel Foundation. The photographer was awarded for his series of "Canistherapy: From a Personal Tragedy Towards Helping Others."
The awards ceremony and opening exhibition took place on November 21, at the Old Town Hall, where it is also possible to view the exhibition of all the photograps nominated and awarded, until the end of January 2017.
“Insidious illness makes it impossible for Petra to live a normal life. She has a cyst on her brain that comes hand in hand with unexpected seizures. Out of family environment, Petra suddenly found herself on a verge of social exclusion... Petra and her partner bought dogs with a special training for canistherapy. That allows Petra to help people who have to live in social institutions and retirement houses. Paradox? A person who lives in one room together with three dogs and cats and with money that can barely cover her rent, selflessly helps other people." - from the supporting text to the award-winning series of photos
"It is a great honour to me to get the award by the Committee of Good Will – Olga Havel Foundation at the Czech Press Photo competition as it just touches upon the themes entrapping specific life conditions of people with sensory, motoric or mental disabilities. As I said at the award ceremony, I valued this award most of all the ones I have ever received because it was not based on a subjective assessment evaluation of the jurors - photographers but on an objective appraisal by people who operate in the area in question and understand both its content and form. Once again, great thanks.” Matúš Zajac
Video with Petra explaining her handicap