ol' joe sudek
Thursday, March 06, 2008
in my neverending quest to better my photo eyes and to reexamine some of the photographers i consider the real masters of the craft, i dug my nose into Anna Farova's book on the fantastic Czech shooter Sudek. overlooked in the U.S. a bit because of his decision to spend most of his life in Prague, Sudek's work evokes mood, in a way many of the surrealists approached emotional-ism, by getting 'personal.' Sudek meticulously photographed the streets of Prague, the churches, the gardens of his artist friends and his own window sills, tables, breakfast, rotting fruit and coins. Sudek became a bookbinder so he would have books at his disposal to read since books were an expensive commodity for someone of his limited means. he also dabbled in photography, he was a an accomplished amateur before being drafted into WWI. in the war, he was shot in the right arm, infection eventually took that arm. Sudek, after healing up, took his pension money and studied photography formally for a couple years before beginning a career--as a photographer--which eventually spanned seven decades. With only one-arm and of slight stature, it is amazing the work that he accomplished, lugging his large format camera and tripod all through Prague.
Sudek, in his heyday, was as much a fixture of the city as Atget was in his native Paris. i identify with Sudek's telling of his city through intimate, almost workman-like experimentation using soft-focus lenses, long exposures and that Czech light as his weapon of choice and i can't mention his photography without mention of his near obsessive love of music, it seems like many of us, Sudek needed some sort of muse to drive his creativity. if you shoot toy cameras, crappy old polaroid film or experiment with large formats or pinholes, Sudek's many portfolios deserve your quiet study. he is inspirational. believe me he is, i've decided i have one too many arms to be a good photographer, but i keep trying to overcome my handicap.
handicap+ice. Minolta Instant Pro. Polaroid, Type 990.
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