The Battle of the Ford 2012
Hussites under Zbořený Kostelec have by now become a tradition, but a vampire under Zbořený Kostelec? That’s a first. Originally I thought I was seeing things because of the terrible heat at the ford, but the photographs are a proof that this year’s battle really contained one vampire.
The story of the battle was obviously fictional, starting with the Vikings who took part in killing St. Wenceslaus and ending with their leader’s transformation in a vampire. Therefore, there was a much wider range of things, which the script writers could use to impress the audience. It was not just a conflict of two sides with a minor wannabe story overture, the story of a vampire searching for blood purer than that of St. Wenceslaus took up the whole background of the event. The vampire’s desire for pure blood, which could free him from his curse, was so strong that he was willing to ally himself with anybody who would offer him at least few innocent virgins. In the end the curse was destroyed by Christ’s blood from a Hussite priest’s chalice.
The story based on magic also enabled the creators to use fire and smoke effects, which would have had no place in a purely historical story. Sometimes there was so much smoke that it covered the battlefield and the warriors became mere silhouettes, giving the story a more fairytale appearance.
In the last two years I always chose to shoot from the last row of the audience on a raised bulwark, in order to have a better overview of the battlefield. However, this year I went to the first row and photographed from the battlefield level – a tactic that paid off during Lipany. But that’s obviously not a universal recipe for success. Though the photos picturing scenes which took place near to me seem to be more life-like, those of the events on the farther side of the battlefield are more static and lack the view from above that would add some spatial feeling.
As usual, the event was accompanied by a historical encampment and market and the battle itself was preceded by musical performances, a dance show of the group Naruby and a play featuring a historical fencing group Inferno and dance group Naruby.
I hope that for the next year they are going to order some milder weather.