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Miloslav Stibor - 15 Photographs for Henry MillerThe nude is one of the most beloved and most frequent kinds of Czech photography, and many of its artists like František Drtikol, Karel Ludwig or Jan Saudek are among the most important and most popular Czech photographers. Although after 1960 there have been several periods which were not favorable to photographic nudes in Czechoslovakia, for various reasons, there were not any when high quality nudes were not made at all. The worst period of dogmatic totalitarianism ended with Stalin's death in 1953, but it took several more years before the cultural scene showed distinct signs of liberalization in Czechoslovakia. Photographers adopted a number of specialized techniques, including point-source studio lighting, sandwich montages with details of various structure, projections of various rasters on the models' bodies, the Sabattier effect, coarse grain, and "rollage." Such stylized works by Miroslav Hák and Karel Ludwig were loosely emulated by other artists. In 1960, Václav Chochola made several classical studio nudes, emphasizing the models' natural beauty without distinctive stylization, but in that same year, he and the artist Jiří Kolář employed these very photographs in a series of "rollages" and "prollages". Stylization through sharp light contrasts and effective details were often used in nudes to accent basic archetypes, simple shapes and proportionality. Miloslav Stibor in the 1960s became one of the most important international Czech photographers of nudes. In 1968, following his earlier creatively finished, technically precise but somewhat cold nudes, Stibor presented a surprising series entitled 15 Photographs for Henry Miller /see photo/. These sensual photographs featuring cropped details of female bodies are undoubtedly the peak of his work, and perhaps even one of the best works of Czech nude photography in the 1960s. Dramatically lit and stepping out of the darkness almost like phantoms, these eroticized nudes allow for a certain degree of naturalism rather than stylized finish. Sandwich montages and projections of rasters, or light-filtered patterns, were most often used in nudes by Jaroslav Vávra and Zdeněk Virt.



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