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Thursday, 28 September 2023


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I thoroughly enjoy my 1956 book, Josef Sudek Fotografie, still in fine condition, with dust jacket, despite many viewings. The pictures are wonderful, as is the tactile experience. One of my favorites.

I ordered a copy of Sudek's "Smutna Krajina / Sad Landscape" direct from the Czech Republic a few years ago (a wonderful book of panoramic images of the "Black Triangle"). It comes in a robust clamshell box, which is just as well, as mine was delivered in a huge Czech postal sack, of the sort you might deliver potatoes or coal in.

My personal favourite, though, is "The Window of My Studio", published by Torst, which collects those rain and condensation streaked views of Sudek's garden from indide the studio. A beautifully made book.


Mr Voltz and Mike,
Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

Mike….this is why I love the Blog. More of these, the better. Thank you!

I forgot to mention. There is another little book, Joseph Sudek, by Anna Farova, published in 2002 by Fototorst. The reproduction is good and it has an English translation.

Addendum: I found an excellent brief video on Josef Sudek made by Christie’s six years ago. Well worth your time if you’re not familiar with him.

What a great story! But how did the negatives end up in a random darkroom in Prague? Or was it a random darkroom? I seem to recall that he worked in an old shed off his house? I guess that’s the big question.

Yes!! to the Bullaty Sudek book. I don't know the commercial work that Ken Tanaka singles out for additional scrutiny, but the plates in Bullaty's compilation have a wonderful, old fashioned and perhaps Eastern European mystery to them that is quite uniqueor at least Steiglitzian. Her introductory picture of Sudek's overflowing desk captures this mood perfectly:

So where are the images, Mike? Awesome story, but you are kinda leaving us hanging.
I love the way Sudek cannot easily be characterized. Commentary sometimes pegs him as a romantic pictorialist and other times as a modernist, with his work fundamentally about the nature of the medium itself — or even a forerunner, like Blossfeldt, of the school of precision-tooled objectivistism. A large percent of his magnificent oeuvre are photos taken in his small ramshackle home, and pretty much all of it was taken within a small distance from that. I have one of the photos of a simple ridged water glass, of which there are many variants. I love his type of obsessiveness. Sudek shows that one need not travel to the Grand Canyon to photograph. Dilate what’s under your nose or in your neighborhood. My best photography by far was when I was living for a few years in a warehouse district in NYC (since developed) and I took a few photos every day while walking my dog, always in the same four to five block radius, but an inexhaustible wellspring nonetheless.

What an interesting story and exposure to a new (to me) photographer.

I contribute to the support of TOP for virtual gold nuggets like this article.

All the angst for some of whether to carry a lighter Fuji or a way heavy Nikon... Sudek had one arm and carried an 8x10, len, film holders and tripod around for decades.
When confined to his home by the Nazi invaders he made great images of his windows, kitchen and garden.
Creativity matched by personal drive. Magic images that stand the test of time.

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