Jan Saudek

Jan Saudek photo

A world-renowned photographer. The “enfant terrible” of Czech culture. A Bohemian. Jan Saudek is known for both his work and his life. And in both cases, it is thanks to his relationships with women who influenced him. He got his first camera at fifteen, but it was in 1959 that his first wife, Marie, gave him the Flexaret camera in that he still uses today. He started employing the characteristic bare plaster wall, which creates the backdrop in most of his studio photographs, in 1972, thanks to his model, Evelyn Schloss. He originally wanted to re-paint the “mouldy and unsightly” wall, but left it bare in the end thanks to Evelyn's advice. Just as bare as the subjects of his photographs – women. Saudek colourises most of his photographs. A frequent theme of his early career was childhood, but it gradually transformed with a focus on increasingly erotic images. He also often repeats the motifs of open windows and double-portraits stylised as playing cards. Although he describes his photographs as romantic kitsch, he has had exhibitions all over the world (Chicago, Paris, Milan, etc.). Disputes about his photographs' negatives between him and his former partner Sára, who lives with his son Samuel, resulted in the fact that in the Czech Republic, he currently displays only his paintings. Director Irena Pavlásková made a film loosely inspired by Saudek's life – Photographer (Fotograf, 2015), where he is played by Karel Roden. Saudek is the twin brother of graphic artist Kája Saudek (1935-2015).