I thought it was time to start a thread on one of the most celebrated Czech photographers and, for me, undoubtable one of the most interesting contemporary photographers still producing work ...
He is not a fashion photographer, but I think his work raises a lot of questions, especially in relation the body and the body image, which is important in the context of fashion, so here we go ...
1935: born in Prague 13.5.1935
1950: he gets his first camera KODAK BABY Brownie – first photographic Attempts
1952: apprenticed to a photographer, he worked as a printing shop worker until 1983
1959: he uses „real“ camera Flexaret 6x6, he is also drawing and painting
1963: for ever influenced by the catalogue of the magnificent photographic exhibition „Family of Man“ (Edward Steichen)
1972: he finds his typical WALL composition, which became a sort of projection screen for his figural scenes.
1981: appears his first monograph „Il teatro de la vita“ in Milano
1983: free-lance photographer – he devotes himself fully to his own work
1990: bearer of the French title „Le Chevalier des Arts and Letters“ (Knight of Art and Literature), as the first Czech at all
French film director Jerome de Missolz makes a film about him „Jan Saudek – Czech photographer“
2005: appears his 14., biggest, monograph „SAUDEK“ (published by Slovart, Praha), accompanied by wide retrospective Exhibition in Prague
Jan Saudek is nowadays the most renowned Czech photographer in the world. He has had over 400 one-man shows held at. His photographs are included in the most important world collections.
Jan Saudek is distinctive and original, his work is not part of any genre or movement. He cannot be compared to anyone and there is no way to classify him. His controversial work daringly plunges into human emotions, drives, passions, consciousness as well as the subconscious, has the integrity of great artists, including style, view point, and expression.
His photographs moves from emotionally strong celebrations of the family - the apotheosis of womanhood, manhood, motherhood, fatherhood, childhood, and the lover. Saudek was fascinated by the metamorphosis of adolescence, attracted by the questions of birth and death, and the dimensions of love and human decency. In his photographs, ecstatic emotions were blended with pathos and subtle humor. He was creating the symbols of family, which are inseparable.
To a duality of emotions entered his pictures - the relationship between love and hate, sincerity and falsehood, beauty and ugliness, youth and old age. These antithetic elements created dramatic tension and at the same time, were mutually attracting and built up new meanings. Irony or even cynicism permeated the relationship between woman and man. True, even by aggressiveness and - fatality. It was a game, a fight to take control over the other one. These were stories of love and ruin, sometimes even tragic. During that period, the eroticism of his photographs was gaining intensity.
He delves into carnality, aggressive animalism to perversity, and even to a certain extent, masochism. However, Saudek's obsession with the body-any body, including a very old, fat and misshapen one - is not guided by the fashionable aesthetics of loathsomeness. On the contrary, it is filled with a hedonism that are even joyful and erotic. The tension between the violence, atrocity, sexuality and creativity of the images gives perhaps shocking, yet emotionally very impressive conclusions to Saudek's pictures. He portrayes the part of humans in their fatal contradiction of being.
The whole of Saudek's work is very intimate and he is quite easily vulnerable to it himself. He is constantly taking chances that the viewer starts laughing or becomes angry - be it due to embarrassment, stuffiness or misunderstanding. But whether his photographs deal with most tender emotions or the questionable sides of human being, as a whole, they are a massive celebration of humanness. And it is this very original, provocative adoration of manhood - to which anything human is not strange - that makes Jan Saudek a unique character in contemporary photography.
well, well, i've been quietly observing
and indeed i have to admit that while i certainly see an appeal in his aesthetic and subjects there is also something i personally find a bit off-putting in his work and i can't quite put my finger on it. maybe it's the mixture of romantic visions, subtle pornography and seemingly disturbing things ... i somehow find it too sweet as if he were trying to feed it to us with a spoon?
thanks for the thread anyway.
and you wouldn't believe how many replies most of my threads have