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Abeceda Duseviho Prazdna (Alphabet of Spiritual Emptiness)
Prague: Nakadatelsvi Za\' Druha a.s, 1946. 1st Edition 1st Printing. Soft cover. Near Fine/Very Good. This is a scarce first edition, first printing of the critically acclaimed photobook, Abeceda Duseviho Prazdna (Alphabet of Spiritual Emptiness) published by Nak/adatelsvi Za\' Druha a.s., Prague, in 1946. Abeceda is a documentary record of forced German labor camps in Breslau during 1941-1943 that Vince Aletti in the photobook reference work, The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century, calls a Czech artist\'s response to the physical and psychic devastation of World War ll. He also writes, The subject of his book is the walking wounded - men forced to work for the conquering army. The dark, impressionistic look of Tmej\'s photographs is the result of working indoors with a concealed camera and only the dimmest of available light. The book itself, a small paperback made with pulpy newsprint stock, has an abject quality contradicted only by the gorgeously tactile gravure prints. Published a year after Germany\\\'s collapse and their author\'s release, Tmej\'s photos retained their aura of furtiveness and despair at the same time as they were transformed into documents of resistance and survival. An exceptional account of the book appears on the 5B4 website, Unmarried Czech workers will be used as a group in the most remote parts of the Reich and will thereby be prevented from starting families in the territory of the protectorate. This was the decree under which, in the autumn of 1942, Zdenek Tmej was ordered to the town of Breslau to serve in a forced labor camp. Tmej, a 22-year-old aspiring photographer, brought along a Contax and a Rolliflex camera intending to bear witness to the conditions and events that transpired in a Nazi-run forced labor camp and somehow he would was allowed to keep his cameras and photograph. His job in the Reich was to work at the train station unloading the mail trains and he even took this as an opportunity to order an enlarger and darkroom equipment as well as a 4 x 5 camera to be sent from Prague. He sold prints to keep himself in film flashbulbs and photographic paper. The resulting photographs and eventual book published in 1946 called Abeceda Dusevniho Prazdna - Alphabet of Spiritual Emptiness, serve as an unrivaled insider\'s account of what it was like to live under the conditions of a Nazi forced labor camp. Measuring approximately 9.5 inches x 8.5 inches and containing 45 stunning gravure prints, the book is bound in cardboard type flexible paper wraps with a photographically illustrated dust jacket. The condition of the book is Near FINE+ with some very minor wear and soiling to the fragile covers and a few random marks to the page edges. The original dust jacket is in Very Good+ condition with some foxing to the rear and inside of the dust jacket. The edges of the dust jacket have been professionally restored. Overall, this is an exceptionally well preserved copy of an extremely scarce photobook that is notoriously fragile and almost impossible to find in this condition. Cited in all three reference works on photobooks: The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century and The Open Book by Andrew Roth and Parr and Badgers, The Photobook: A History.
      [Bookseller: Franklin Books]
Last Found On: 2014-07-29           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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