PHOTOGRAPHER JOSEF SUDEK, THE POET OF PRAGUE

Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:

Josef Sudek (1896-1976), known as “The Poet of Prague,” lost his right arm in WWI and in the course of a 65-year vocation, wandered the streets of his beloved hometown, taking evocative photographs of cathedrals, deserted squares, and his own gloriously cluttered studio apartment.

Poet of Prague: A Photographer’s Life (1990), by Anna Fárová, tells much of the story. Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Sudek began experimenting with a simple box camera in his late teens.  

Of the incident that marked his life, he wrote: “I lost my arm during the eleventh offensive…as we charged our own artillery started shelling us from the back…I felt as if a rock hit me in the right shoulder. I started looking around but all the guys who had been standing were now dead. I crawled back to our own lines, and as I was getting into a dugout, I slipped and it started to hurt. Then I lost consciousness.”

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