Praha Panoramaticka. Josef Sudek. Statni Nakladatelstvi, Praha, 1959. First edition. Oblong quarto. Cloth in photo-illustrated dustjacket. Preliminaries + poem by Jaroslav Seifert + 284 gravure panoramas of Prague and vicinity.
This magnificent book alone would have secured a place for Sudek as a master among twentieth century photographers. Using the panoramic format, he was able to suggest the visual sweep of both city and landscape views. Taken in all seasons and from many awesome vantage points, Sudek chronicled his city with its splendid mix of architectural styles, views of its winding Vltava River, and Bohemian countryside. Most of the panoramas are horizontal, but the collection includes a number of effective vertical images. Single-minded and energetic in his pursuit of these images, Sudek used a modified 1899 panoramic camera that took individual sheets of film. He worked expertly with only his left arm, having lost his right arm during his military service. This book is testament to the fact that Sudek successfully evaded the will of the Communist occupiers who tried to squash individual expression.
A fine copy, with only very pale discoloration along part of the bottom edge of the front cover. The uncommon dustjacket has light soiling, several light creases, and edge rubbing; it is strengthened on the reverse with 'invisible' archival tape in a number of places and with other paper tapes at the top and bottom of the spine. It is difficult to find copies of this book with the dustjacket intact; because of its unusual format it often was not placed on a shelf in the normal fashion, and therefore most copies were kept in less optimal ways that often led to condition flaws. A desirable copy.