Josef Sudek

(CZECHOSLOVAKIAN, 1896 – 1976)

Known as the “Poet of Prague” Sudek studied photography at the School of Graphic Art in Prague with Professor Karel Novak (1922-23). A lifelong passion for music also influenced his life and work. While Sudek is sometimes regarded as a modernist, this is true of only a couple of years in the 1930s, during which he undertook commercial photography. Primarily, his personal photography is neo-romantic. His early work included many series of light falling in the interior of St. Vitus cathederal. During and after World War II Sudek created haunting night-scapes and panoramas of Prague, photographed the wooded landscape of Bohemia, and the window-glass that led to his garden (the famous The Window of My Atelier series). He went on to photograph the crowded interior of his studio (the Labyrinths series). His first Western show was at George Eastman House in 1974 and he published 16 books during his life. He was awarded the Order of Work by the Czech government in 1966 and received the title Artist of Merit in 1961, the first photographer so honored by the Czech government.

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 capture some of this - I suppose that’s lyricism.