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Jan Saudek (born in 1935 in Prague) is undoubtedly the most provocative figure in the whole history of Czech fine art nude photography.
His "Czech nude" erotic photography is taken in black and white, then coloured by hand. On the one hand he is surrounded by admiration almost amounting to worship, on the other by dislike bordering on damnation. He and his art work excite a strange mixture of tenderness and violence, lyricism and irony, romanticism and an ostentatious eroticism that comes close to obscenity.
Jan Saudek was one of the first Czech photographers whose work became known in the West, a recognition which placed him under state suspicion until the 80's. His universe evokes relationships between men and women, sexuality, youth and old age. He often photographs his subjects first clothed then naked. The baroque, grostesque nature of his photographic language in reinforced by the backdrop formed by the dilapidated wall of the famous cellar which, both in the past and still today, allows him to photograph "human nature free from inhibition".
Jan Saudek is the most important artist of his type. Drawing on classical paintings, historical portraiture, and 19th-century pornographic studio photographs, the erotic images of Jan Saudek reveal a world of fantasy where artistic play and expression are given free range. Using elaborate backdrops and magical costumes, Saudek is both voyeur and participant, photographer and model, shifting back and forth in a style that lends the term autoportraiture new meaning.
It can be hard for American public to embrace Saudek's art. You are so used to aibrushed, silicon-pumped, malnurished, shaved, bleached or otherwise "improved" women. In this, as in his other books, Saudek shows beauty & femininity unadorned. He is a genius & a bold man that refuses to follow the current trend of enhanced beauty. How refreshing in an abundant photographic deluge of perfected, smooth, unreal bodies. Plus we women do not come in sepia tones either. Abundand color makes us all so much more alive. Hurrah for femininity with a big F. Jump in into Saudek's book for a visual feast.
It shows both the power and the development of Jan. We can see his style change from a wide eyed-idealist to a bitter man, consumed with the evils of life and the horrors of humanity. Jan Saudek is truly the master of fine art nude photography.
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