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Monograph on Marie Sechtlova, one of most influential Czech photographers of 1960s

Monograph on Marie Šechtlová, one of most influential Czech photographers of 1960s, with texts by the author, Antonín Dufek and Jan Kříž. Book contains 100 full page photographs from her most famous series including Nudes, New York, Russia, Romani People, Circus, Music, portraits of Josef Šíma, František Hrubín, Jean Effel etc. Book contains also additional reproduction from contemporary magazines, dialogue with her daughter by Josef Musil as well as most complete biography published to the date and list of exhibitions.

Publisher Marie Šechtlová, In Czech and English language, ISBN 978-80-904323-0-7, Hardcover, 21×24 cm, 184 pages, $40.

Book is now available for international shipping at Amazon (, in Czech and Slovak republic at Kosmas (

Marie Šechtlová: Photography 1960–1970 offers a rare look into the graphic yet humanistic vision of a Czechoslovakian woman photographer during a decade of political and social upheaval.


This high-quality publication is a tribute to Šechtlová’s lyrical approach, situated within the Czech avant-garde lineage, which creatively sidestepped the difficulties of expressing humanistic values under a repressive communist regime that imprisoned her husband for his photographic activities.

Among her wide repertoire, All Eyes (1964), a joint effort with poet Jan Noha, establishes a balancing point between image and text by utilizing metaphoric, dramatic abstraction, unconventional perspective, and unusual use of focus, to communicate hopefulness for the future.

— Robert Hirsch,

About the Author:

Marie Šechtlová, nee Kokešová (1928 – 2008) began her photographic career in 1945. After her marriage to Josef Šechtl, she helped develop the family Šechtl & Voseček photographic studio until 1953, when it was nationalized by the communist government. In the late 1950s, she became an art photographer, and in the 1960s, she was one of most successful photographers of “the poetry of the everyday”. Together with her husband, she published a number of books, and produced many exhibitions, and also pioneered the use of large scale photographic prints for interior decoration.

The Message of Mare Šechtlová:

I first saw Marie Šechtlová’s photographs shortly after I started work at the Aleš South Bohemian Gallery in 1959. As a member of several photographic competition juries I was able to appreciate the degree of freedom of creativity involved, inadvertent but firm, in Marie Šechtlová’s work. Every such voice was much needed in the early 1960’s. With increasing practical experience, her photographs began to become compelling visual compositions, naturally resonating with everything promoted by an (initially) small group of free-thinking South Bohemian artists as part of their contribution to the resurgence process then gaining momentum in Czech culture. She managed to persuade competition juries that creative photography held an important position among other, more traditional art techniques and did a great deal of work for the establishment of photography as an equal art discipline in South Bohemia.

Marie Šechtlová’s photographs struck a chord with the general public through the magic of their subtle visual lyricism. Informed by modern Czech photography, the artist understood the photograph as a picture that is carefully composed yet always surprising for its play of shapes within a space and, in particular, an area. There is no photograph of hers that might fail to captivate with something new, inventive, innovative. However, a poetic game with form was always a prelude to the communication of ideas, always refined and emotional, sometimes understood as pictorial notes on more profound contents.

As she combined art with photographic business in a professional studio, the circle of Šechtlová’s subjects expanded. If I remember correctly, the genres also included photographic illustration, a discipline that is yet to be fully acknowledged. Her portraits are no less brilliant. They feature some major figures of Czech culture captured with an unusual sense of the special pathos of human humility and modesty. These photographs were rooted in feelings of respect and mutual interaction that do not distinguish between important, less important and unimportant people.

Even Marie Šechtlová’s reportage photographs bear the hallmark of respect for life and joy in its many man festations. Herself a strikingly attractive woman, she viewed the photographic nude as a celebration of a beatiful female body, without neglecting the stimuli that the genre had long provided for stylised forms produced by avant-garde photographers.

The work of Marie Šechtlová deserves a professional processing to confirm that the artist has earned a place in the history of Czech creative photography through approaches that are original and always inspiring.

— Jan Kříž, art historian, currator at the Czech Museum of Fine Arts

Šechtl & Voseček Studios:

The history of Šechtl & Voseček Studios goes back to 1863, when Ignác Schächtl (1840 – 1911) made the decision to leave his work as a clerk in Prague, to study the new craft of photography, in Kladno. After training, he opened a studio in Plzeň. In 1869, he decided to leave the city and become an itinerant photographer. In 1876, aged 36, Ignác Schächtl finally settled in Tábor, and officially opened his studio at house #333 on Maria Square.

His son, Josef Jindřich, was born in 1877. Family tradition says that the same day, in a pub, Šechtl met the com mercial traveller, Jan Voseček (1851 – 1936), who very soon became almost a part of the family.

Josef Jindřich Šechtl (1877 – 1954) continued his father’s tradition. In 1907 he commenced the building of a modern photographic studio in the main street. Josef Jindřich Šechtl was famous for his quality portraits and group photographs. Many of the famous people who visited Tábor at this time were also photographed in the Šechtl and Voseček studios. As with his father, his passion was photojournalism, and he has provided us with a unique photo documentary of his time. Thanks to his attention to detail, his reputation grew, and the family business blossomed.

Josef Šechtl (1925 – 1992) and his wife Marie Šechtlová (1928 – 2008) took over the studio in 1944.

Our project of digitizing our archive of historical photographs is aiming to make available online, some 10 000 preserved glass plate negatives from 1860 to 1950s, hundreds of 35mm films (1930 to 1950s), and thousands of medium and large format films.

Small private Šechtl & Voseček Museum of Photography has been created, in cooperation with the Škrla family, at their site on Nicholas of Hus Square. This allows us to present to a wider audience, the results of our project of digitizing the archive.

To preview the book please contact Jan Hubička, [email protected]

High-res scans to your specification are available upon request; scanning from the book or lifting images from the mechanical file are strictly prohibited.

For more information, please contact Jan Hubička, [email protected], Šechtl & Voseček Museum of Photography, Dukelských bojovníků 1944, Tábor, 390 03, Czech Republic

Šechtl and Voseček Museum of Photography is private museum in Tábor, Czech Republic, with largest on-line digital archive of historical photography in the country.

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