Jan Saudek’s debut collection for GINZA is taken from the first half of his remarkable career. Life features ten black and white images; a combination of studio shots and exterior photographs taken against the backdrop of fractured post-war Czechoslovakia.
The eponymous centrepiece is Saudek’s celebrated 1965 image of a man and a baby, a photograph that saw the artist’s work gain recognition beyond his Czech homeland. Another photograph, Hey Joe, shot six years earlier on the banks of the Vltava in Prague, exemplifies Saudek’s expertise at depicting the people and places of his native Prague in the years after the Second World War. A third, Marie no.142, from 1973, anticipates the provocative figurative photography that would come to characterise Saudek’s work in subsequent decades.
In common, the photographs in Life explore the themes that have shaped Saudek’s long career. Sexuality, childhood and relationships – life portrayed from cradle to grave – are all present, shot in monochrome in his staged, signature style. ‘I am trying to capture all the things I know and love,’ says Saudek of his emotive and startling work. ‘Above all I would like to leave behind a sign of the times that have elapsed.’