OT: Josef Sudek's books

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by nels, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. 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?
  2. 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
  3. Take a look at ebay.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. Me: what your afterp>
    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.
  7. Nels, the very quick answer is www.bookfinder.com - worked for me for something I thought would be 'difficult'. Johnny.
  8. 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.
  9. "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.
  10. 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.
  11. Philippe,

    Also found the German edition Kehayoff book of Sudek published in 1999 authored by Farova, and ordered it through Abe from a seller in the Netherlands. Can't wait to receive it. They said 8-12 business days. Thanks for the tip.
  12. Peter - Sorry, I am just reading the "not" part in your sentence where I asked for ISBN number. Never mind.
  13. Thanks for the offer, Rene. Now that I've ordered two of his books, I want to wait and see how much of his "window in my studio" stuff is included in them, before I get another one. Appreciate the offer.
  14. Nels, I think you misread a bit more.
    Yes, prices at ABE can be crazy. So go ahead, laugh at them. After your laughter has subsided, invest fifteen minutes in exploring the website. Register yourself, register a want or three, and then wait for the email alerts.
    As for bookfinder.com, mentioned above, it is indeed a useful site. But it's heavily dependent on ABE and what are in effect smaller duplications of ABE: few of the books mentioned at bookfinder.com aren't available via ABE. And what bookfinder.com doesn't do (as far as I know) is allow you to register a want.
    Photography-irrelevant, I know, but years ago I liked the movie Out of the Past (I still do) and wanted to read the original novel (Build My Gallows High). There were crappy paperbacks but I was interested in the hardback, complete with dust cover -- on my terms. I soon realized that people into this kind of thing are wacko. Copies of this novel are surprisingly common, despite all the "Rare!" nonsense used to describe them. They normally cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. I waited. One came up for about $40. I wrote off immediately but damn, somebody else beat me to it. I waited. Another came up for $15. I bought it.
    Deferred gratification.
  15. Can't create a want for a book that doesn't even turn up in any of my searches. Nice advice, though. I'll call Lenswork on Monday and ask what they've been smoking.
  16. Apparently the book also goes by the title "The Window of My Atelier". Still no luck finding it or an ISBN number of it.
  17. Can't create a want for a book that doesn't even turn up in any of my searches.
    Yes you can. I'm glad to hear that you now know the title that you want, but let's suppose for a moment that you didn't know it. So, you register yourself (which is about as easy as registering yourself at PN) and then register a want for a book whose author's name is "jan sudek" or whose title contains "sudek". Get dozens of hits for books about irrelevant Sudeks? Then add "jan" to the title or general keyword field. Still get too many hits? Add Boolean "NOT" to taste. Still too many? Then add "window" to the title field, or similar.
  18. abebooks.com rocks.
  19. </I>Jamie,<br>Yes indeed. I got a copy of Sudek's wonderful "Prague Panorama" through
  20. Nels_, you won't regret ordering the German Farova book. I just leafed
    through it again and it is a wonderful book. A hefty tome, weighing in at
    around 3 kilos and beautifully designed and printed. There is plenty of stuff
    taken from his studio window (although I don't obviously know to what extent it
    overlaps with the older book). If you can get hold of the "Sad Landscape"
    panorama volume, that is even better. I've seen those contact prints in Prague
    and you really don't believe what you are seeing. It's awesome. It leaves
    Koudelka, who went to Bohemia long after Sudek to shoot his "Black
    Triangle", in the dust (and given how much I love Koudelka this means
    something). Anyway, during my visit to Prague last year I visited Sudek's
    studio. It's only a shed in a garden that has been completely rebuilt as it was
    in the old days, before it burned down. It's a tiny museum now - just two rooms
    - but fun. And it gives an idea of that garden he has been inexhaustibly
  21. This may also be true of ABE, dunno, but www.choosebooks.com has amongst it's 89 items found for Josef Sudek several original silver gelatin prints and collections thereof. How's your bank account Nels?
  22. PPPPS: For "Jan" above, read "Josef". Asleep at the keyboard again, I'm afraid.
  23. Thanks, guys. I'll wait and see what these two books contain before getting more of Sudek.
  24. </em>
    <p>Attempting to shut off the leaky italics...</p>
  25. ...success. It seems there's a bug (feature?)in the forums that allows an unclosed <em> tag to proliferate to downstream posts.
  26. I just want to second the vote for SAD LANDSCAPES. Wish I had a copy.

    I have seen a feature film about Sudek, in Czech with Swedish sub-titles (it was on Swedish television). Well worth digging out if it's possible to find. Try the National Museum in Prague.
  27. Guys,

    "Sad landscape" is in print. It costs 650 CZK if i recall correctly (roughly 26 US dollars). Of
    course postage will add a bomb to U.S... Try www.kosmas.cz for a czech-amazon like e-
    shop. It's all in Czech, but they should be able to answer English emails. If everything fails,
    contact me and I'll try to help you.
    "Prague panoramatická" is out of print. I don't know why it wasn't reprinted. Copyright
    issues? The 1st edition (1959) is quite rare. I have seen it in a 2nd hand bookseller here in
    Brno about a year ago for 5000 CZK (200 dollars). The 2nd edition (1988?) should be
    cheaper but is not exactly common, either. The connoiseurs say the 1st edition is better

  28. Thanks so much for that, Stepan. I've just looked into it, but had to bottle out at the registration page. Could you possibly give me a guide to the various information fields?
  29. Some of Sudek's Prague panoramas here: http://www.sramek.ca/photos/sudekgallery/sugallery1.html
  30. Jonathan,

    at the 1st registration page, opt for B) and enter you email.
    pøíjmení = last name
    jméno = 1st name
    ignore the firma and other 2 fields -- that's for company orders.
    obec = city (if you're in US, i'd add the state here)
    ulice = street
    PSÈ = ZIP code
    stát = country (scroll down for "Spojené státy americké"
    telefon = phone

    pøihlaᄍovací jméno = user name
    heslo = password
    potvrïte heslo = password confirm

    on next page, go to "Adresa pro doruèení zásilky je v zahranièí:" (= delivery abroad)
    po zemi = ground
    letecky = airmail (i strongly recommend air-mail. I once sent prints to israel via ground
    mail and it took 3 months!)

    Zpùsob platby, úhrady = payment method.
    pick Platební karta = credit card

    click pokraèovat = continue.

    that should be it, i hope!
  31. Stepan, you're a gent! Meanwhile, I've been studying the prices of the Prague panoramas book on the web. Phew! "One of the most sought-after art books in Europe." Not kidding. Wonderful, though. There used to be a copy at my local library when I was a kid... Here's a picture for you. Forgive the primitive scan of my ca. 1983 effort to be J.Sudek! [​IMG]
  32. Stepan,

    Thanks for the info. I have located the book on the site you mentioned:


    I have also sent an e-mail to them asking how I can order it in the US, etc. Will update more when I hear back. The Dutch seller confirmed that he shipped my book today.
  33. Thanks for the link, Jonathan. I enjoyed it.
  34. Jonathan,

    did you manage to order the book? Or are there any more stumbling blocks in the ordering?
    I guess the "Praha panoramaticka" is really quite sought after given the price the local 2nd hand bookseller was asking for it! To put things into perspective, that's about 1/3 of a net monthly wage here.
    I like your picture... It definitely has something of the Sudek mood. But I am more intrigued about what did you do in 1983 in Prague? And have you been back since?


    I don't think they can help you with U.S. distributor. They're just a czech online bookshop. However, as I translated the crucial terms above for Jonathan, you should be able to order it yourself! Click the "pYidat do koa�ku" button, then "dokon
    it objedn�vku, pYej�t k podkladn" -- and then follow the translations above.
  35. Stepan,

    I have put the book in my cart (I hope). Now which freakin' button do I click to "proceed to checkout"?

  36. NEls,

    dokoncit objednavku -- prejit k pokladne. it looks similar to the "add to the cart" button. (this time i am omitting diacritics as it makes photo.net go bonkers!)
  37. Stepan, After I click that, it takes me to a page with the heading "
    N᫵pní «oï¿½í« je prẤn�". What do I do next? This is strange.
  38. I can't even find the registration page...
  39. NEls,

    let'S start again. open the page with the book. On the right side, there's a pale blue button with "pridat do kosiku". click that.
    that'll take you to the page "obsah kosiku" (cart contents). There you click another button, called "dokoncit objednavku -- prejit k pokladne".
  40. I think I'm there....working through at my own pace....patience.
  41. The airmail delivery on this puppy is more than the price of the book...I'm not so sure if I'm crazy about this book anymore...:)
  42. It's done, Stepan. Thanks for all the help. The last bit was a challenge, but I have a confirmation e-mail, so I hope it went through fine.
  43. Nels,

    glad to help. i hope you'll like the book. Can't say you weren't warned about the price of the delivery :)
  44. Stepan,

    I've done much crazier transactions in my life, so keeping things in perspective, this one is not so bad.

    Greetings from Spojene Staty Americke - it'll take me a while to get over that one!

  45. Incidentally, there's a copy of the book available on eBay from a seller in Czech Republic (I have been keeping quiet about it because I didn't want bidding competition). The seller has it listed for $40 and will charge $25 to ship to US. The one from the online bookshop worked out cheaper. So thanks, again.
  46. Nels,

    i also noticed that ebay offer for 40 dollars. I think that person just has the offer there, and if anyone buys it for that price, he just goes to the shop, buys a copy and mails it to you, making a bit of profit. if his shipping fee is lower than kosmas.cz, he's probably not sending it airmail...
  47. I revisited Sudek today. I have a small book on him. Lot's of great stuff. I bet Trevor Hare would love his work although I think he is already familiar with him.
  48. I've been running google searches on the guy since I read about him two days ago, and just about every image I've seen has peaked my curiosity immensely and makes me want to see the work bigger. Hence the purchase of three books in two days without much hesitation.

  49. To me Sudek's oeuvre has a particular atmosphere, which I am not sure is replicable today. I do not mean using 10x30cm 19th panoramatic camera or glass carriers with 10 ASA sensibility, but the way he portrays Prague -- would it be still possible to do it in a similar vein? Nowadays Prague almost feels like disneylandised version of itself, a tourist attraction that is all glittering on the outside but what is inside? What happened to all those old buildings, peeling paint and plaster, cobbly streets? Josef Sudek at least managed to capture some of this spirit in photographs... I think on a WAY different level, Jan Svankmajer did something similar, in a microscopic scale; he captured, in his movies, the microcosm of a Prague turn of century apartment bloc, the staircases, the cellars, the ornate doors, doorways and windows, the courtyards...
  50. I got my Sudek book years ago. If you like Sudek, don't forget Atget. And if you like Atget, don't forget Ansel. Wow, these guys are great!
  51. another good sudek publication are aperture's issues number 117 and 118. you can find these on ebay if you are patient enough.
  52. Stepan, apologies been off-air overnight. I'll take another stab at ordering that book today. What was I doing in Prague in 1983? Primarily taking a look at Sudek's city. I was drawn to the country through other photographers, artists and composers too. I had a terribly difficult time tracing anything about Sudek. Even at the museums, staff were astonished that I was interested. Museum work seemed to consist of keeping everything under wraps. Prague was fascinating at that time, and the surrounding countryside was beautiful. I wouldn't want to go back, for all the reasons you mention, which were an obvious cost of opening up to the west. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  53. Stepan, I succeeded in placing my order for 'Sad Landscapes' today. Thanks so much for your help!
  54. Hi, The title "From my studio window" is a series of photos that sudek took during his later years and not a book (as of yet). Along with that series are "labyrinths" and a few other exquisite series of photos. The "Sad Landscape" series was one of 3 panoramic series that hopefully will be published someday. Apparently two other such studies of his beloved country were in maquette form at the time of his death. The "studio window" series is well represented in several books, the large "Favrova" volume and the beautifully printed monograph by Sonia Bullaty. Also the small Photo Poche edtion on Sudek is very well printed and heavily draws from the window series. It's about $15. Thanks, Steve Roberts

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