Vladimír Jindřich Bufka
ISBN: 978-80-7215-401-2|Published: 2010|Pages: 148
Binding: Softbound|Format: 160 x 180 mm|Graphic design: studio Najbrt
Vladimír Jindřich Bufka (1887–1916) was one of the most distinctive early twentieth-century art photographers in Prague and indeed all Austria-Hungary. He stood out with his exceptional gift for language, interest in science, and efforts to make art photographs. He began as an amateur. After being trained in making autochromes at the factory of the Lumière brothers in Lyon and at the leading photography studio of Hermann C. Kosel in Vienna, Bufka opened his own studio in Prague in 1911, which offered competition to the Munich-trained František Drtikol. His technical mastery led Bufka to tackle difficult subject matter. At a time when the limits of the new hand-held cameras were being explored in outdoor work, Bufka took photographs in Prague and Vienna in the evening and in the rain, and using backlighting. In central Europe, these photos of his are amongst the first such works. In addition to straight photography, Bufka made stylized works, using the demanding modern printing methods of the gum print and the colored gum print. In these he loosely drew on co-existing styles: Impressionism and post-Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Decadence, Cubism, Futurism, and Art Deco. He was one of the first modern syncretists in a city where the lines of force of European art intersected. His approach to stylistic pluralism was not unlike the postmodernism of our own day. Though he died at the young age of 29, with his writing and photos Bufka influenced Czech photography as a whole during the last several years of his life and his works now appear in publications about European art and photography. The author of this, the first Bufka monograph about Bufka, is Antonín Dufek, the Curator of the Photography Collection of the Moravian Gallery, Brno.