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OT: Josef Sudek's books

Nels _ , Mar 18, 2006; 07:17 p.m.

While flipping through the latest issue of Lenswork, I saw a mention of a book by Josef Sudek, titled "From the Window in my Studio: 1940 -1954". I searched various online shops, but no one seems to mention it, let alone have it in stock. In fact, I am not sure if any of Sudek's books containing his pics (as opposed to his biography) are in stock anywhere.

What gives? Does anyone know if the book will be reprinted/reissued in the near future? Do the pics contained in this book that are shot by Sudek between 1940 and 1954 also available as part of any other collection that one can buy right now?


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Philippe Vandenbroeck , Mar 18, 2006; 07:47 p.m.

There are a couple of Sudek books around. Have a look at the main online photobookstores. As best (and very beautifully printed) overview of his work, I would recommend a German book edited by Anna Farova and issued in 1999 by Keyahoff Verlag. It's difficult to find, however. The most cherished Sudek book in my library, however, is "Sad Landscape": a superb collection of his large format panorama pictures taken in Bohemia, end of the fifties, early sixties.

Ray . , Mar 18, 2006; 07:54 p.m.

Take a look at ebay.

John Shriver , Mar 18, 2006; 08:07 p.m.

Wonderful photographs, saw the exhibition of them at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in the last couple of years.

I think there are copies of this book you can find at http://www.abebooks.com. They appear to be the Czech editions, from bookstores there. Perhaps there is no English translation, but the citation you saw was translated. The pictures are so wonderful you don't need to be able to read the words!

Peter Evans , Mar 18, 2006; 08:22 p.m.

The quick answer is, I don't know. Hey, hold on: Sudek didn't use a Leica, or anything like it. <em class="bleating">Moderator, delete this thread!</em>

I have one book of Sudek's work, titled Josef Sudek, Poet of Prague: A Photographer's Life. Biographical material is worked around a splendid set of well-reproduced images; indeed, this is less a bio than a photo collection. (But sorry, I'm not selling.)

The book has just a single image (on p.73) captioned "View from the window of my studio, 1945-54"; close by it, however, are a few works in a similar vein that may or may not be what your after. In the back is a bibliography that includes monographs published to 1985; this does not mention the book you're looking for.

I remember buying this book for very little in a slightly sleazy shop full of remainders (thrilling bios of minor TV celebs, Taschen pornokitsch, etc.). It definitely cost under €20, even though it's hardback and shows no sign of having been remaindered (no black line across the page edges, etc.). Indeed, it was thanks to the low price that I picked it up: I'd never heard of Sudek at the time, and was merely looking for pornokitsch interested in Prague. I've since seen the same book, used, at much higher prices.

The used book market is about as nutty as the used camera market. There's no limit on the optimism of some would-be sellers or the desperation (or self-flattery through purchase of monstrously priced "rarity") of some buyers. That's the bad news. The good news is that you can bypass fleabay and similar idiocy by signing yourself up at ABE and registering a "want" for "josef sudek". Thereafter, whenever any of squillions of bookstores gets a book by "josef sudek", you'll hear of this by email -- and via ABE, so your address won't be broadcast. If you're inundated with uninteresting offers, then narrow your search by combining "josef sudek" with "window" or whatever. When you get an offer at a sensible price, buy. If somebody else beats you to it, just be patient till another copy turns up.

Be prepared to wait a few months. I haven't used ABE to buy any book for Sudek, but I have used it for many other purposes, and it's not uncommon to buy a book from one dealer for a quarter of the price asked for by another. And you'll soon see that certain sellers (including some that advertise membership of impressive-sounding societies) use terms like "scarce" to describe any book that didn't sell millions.

Peter Evans , Mar 18, 2006; 08:25 p.m.

Me: what your after

Duh, make that "what you're after"

Yes, yes, take a look at fleabay, and see the prices paid by the underinformed and the loony.

john richard massey , Mar 18, 2006; 08:32 p.m.

Nels, the very quick answer is www.bookfinder.com - worked for me for something I thought would be 'difficult'. Johnny.

Nels _ , Mar 18, 2006; 08:43 p.m.

Placed my order for "Josef Sudek : Poet of Prague, A Photographer's Life (Hardcover)- by Josef Sudek, Anna Farova" from amazon. There also appears to be a paperback version that is dinky sized. The hardcover version seems to have bigger prints.

The Abe books site is crazy. There are some books of Sudek listed for as high as $6K+ and they will only ship somewhere in Europe. No one seems to mention this collection shot through his studio window. Not even on fleabay. The search continues. Thanks for the tips, again.

Nels _ , Mar 18, 2006; 08:52 p.m.

"In the back is a bibliography that includes monographs published to 1985; this does not mention the book you're looking for."

Peter - Is there an ISBN number included for this book that I am looking for? Thanks.

Rene Braun , Mar 18, 2006; 09:01 p.m.

I am more fond of early Sudek but I love everything he shot. Nels - if you can't get it, I'm going to the Czech Republic for 2 weeks in April, I might be able to get it there for you.

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