Jan Saudek was born 13 May 1935, the son of a Jewish bank clerk in Prague. Six of his brothers died in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during World War II: Jan and his brother Karel were held in a children’s concentration camp near the Polish border. He survived the war and worked as a printer in the 1950s.
He began taking photographs in 1963, inspired by Steichen’s Family of Man. Three years later he traveled to the United States and was encouraged in his work by curator Hugh Edwards, although on his return to Prague he began exploring erotic and political imagery and was forced to work in secret while laboring in factories during the day.
In the late ’70s he gradually became recognized in the West as a leading Czech photographer, and also developed a following among photographers in his own country. In 1983 the first book on his work was published in the English-speaking world. In 1984 the Communist authorities finally gave him permission to apply for a permit to work as an artist, allowing him to abandon factory work.
Saudek currently lives and works in Prague. His brother Karel Saudek is a well known graphic novelist: his wife, Sára Saudková is also a photographer and artist.
More at Jan and Sarah Saudek- Photography