Fotograf Magazine

Security Service Archive

Normalisation Snapshots

Nine staff members had a total of three cars at their disposal – a blue Škoda110, a white Škoda110, and a greyish-blue Renault 16. The surveillance was taken over by a second group, consisting of nine members of the secret police. They used three personal vehicles (a beige Renault 16, a burgundy Alfa Romeo and a white Škoda 110) as well as one mobile base station – a Škoda 1203. The driver of the Škoda 1203 had thinning hair and was wearing blue coveralls. A total of twenty members of the secret police took turns carrying out the surveillance activities. One part of the team drank four coffees and four juices in the restaurant. A total of sixteen snapshots were taken and six cars were driven a total of 140 kilometres. This mechanical, unemotional type of documentation was standard for the organised operations during which the state’s paparazzi followed strictly defined rules for intervening in the lives of Czechoslovak citizens during the period of normalisation – for example, in the lives of those who dared to use cyclostyles to replicate banned culture. The photos they took, shot from the hip, without any awareness of composition, should never have been allowed to leave the archives of the Surveillance Directorate. However, long after the fall of the Communist regime, they provide a unique document of daily life.  

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#27 cars