Josef Sudek

Dates1896 - 1976
BornKolin-on-the-Elbe, Moravia, Czechoslovakia

Dubbed the "Poet of Prague," Josef Sudek became well known around the streets and concert halls of his city. A poor student, Sudek decided to become a bookbinder, receiving his certificate at age seventeen, while his younger sister became a photographer. At the same time Sudek began to experiment with a box camera and was particularly fond of self-portraits. During active service in World War I, he brought his camera to the front and subsequently produced three albums of photographs.

After the war Sudek turned his attention more fully to photography and became friendly with photographer Jaromir Funke, who introduced him to artists and intellectuals in Prague. In 1921 Sudek applied to the State School of Graphic Arts and soon after was admitted to the Bohemian Amateur Photography Association. After graduating, Sudek and Funke cofounded the Czech Photographic Society in 1924. From the beginning, Sudek met with great commercial success; he leased a studio in 1927 and prospered there for more than thirty years.