Thursday, April 23, 2009

Josef Sudek Photographer (1896-1976)

Born in 1896, Josef Sudek was wounded on the Italian front in 1916, lost his right arm, and later lived through the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, when he and his sister barely ventured out of their small house in Prague. Only a few trusted visitors knew the location of the secret doorbell.

Sudek is called "The Poet of Prague," but I would also call him a poet of interiors, of windows, as you can see from the photos above.  Closed into his house, Nazis commanding the streets of Prague, he photographed the interior; he worked with what he had.  Sudek says it best: "everything around us, dead or alive, in the eyes of a crazy photographer mysteriously takes on many variations so that a seemingly dead object comes to life through light or by its surroundings  . . . .  To capture some of this--I suppose that's lyricism."  
Nothing seems to have stopped Sudek from taking pictures.  His luck held out.  The Nazis fell.   Sonja Bullaty, a Czech Jew, who against all odds had survived the concentration camps, apprenticed herself to Sudek.  It was Bullaty who built  up a collection of Sudek's prints and arranged for them to be exhibited in America.

I hope--like Sudek--the dead objects around me will come to life!            

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