A dazzling redhead hides behind the camera creating art that leaves many speechless. Sára Saudková, 49, is a Czech artist and writer, known for her exceptional work as a nude photographer.
A devotee of creativity, Saudková aspires to make good photography, not money. “Creating art just for money or fame is short-sighted,” she says. “It can’t satisfy your need to leave some trace, some good work.” She shaped her view on life by the freedom she had as a child.
As a young tomboy growing up in Moravia, Saudková was fond of adventure, wishing to become a shepherd or a landscape architect. Spending most of the time outside with her friends, exploring forbidden places or even stealing cherries from the neighbour’s’ garden – that was the life she knew. That little carefree girl never thought of working with a camera.
Saudková comes from an average family. Her parents were always working and couldn’t devote their time to children; despite that they still encouraged their daughter to read, paint and draw. She never had a problem entertaining herself, it helped to expand her imagination.
As a student of economics, Saudková got interested in photography after her first acquaintance with the works of Jan Saudek, a world-renowned Czech nude photographer. From the day they met, she knew they shared the ability to see hidden beauty everywhere.
After a long-time collaboration, Saudek introduced her to the mystery of photography. “I was completely astonished by his world and his personality attracted me a lot,” Saudková said. Lack of experience allowed her to make mistakes which helped an aspiring photographer to distinguish herself from her mentor.
With growing independence, Saudková found her main muse – life – that daily introduces new faces, colours, feelings and stories.
“Saudková’s style, while clearly showing similarities to the work of her former partner, is rooted in a different sensibility,” says Emilio Bellu, Prague based Italian journalist, filmmaker and photographer. “Softer, wistful, drawn to the lighter side of the surreal, often shows the power of Czech relationship with the body, sexuality and curiosity that are hard to find in other cultures.”
Finding the right model for a photograph can be time consuming, especially when an artist is at the peak of inspiration. Then, nothing is left but posing for yourself. It has nothing to do with self-love, she says. Saudková’s techniques are old-fashioned and she has never used a digital camera, only an analog camera that is hard to work with.
Creating nude photography is an art and being both a subject and a master shows her models that she is willing to fully dedicate herself, not sparing the film for photography along the way.
“The problem and pleasure of creating a photograph are just two sides of the coin,” Saudková says. “Every pleasure is redeemed with some trouble or sorrow, each problem is replaced with joy and happiness.” She has always been a stubborn and tireless woman, without it she wouldn’t have anything that she has now.
Last year, Saudková debuted as a writer, publishing her novel “Ta Zrzavá – Láska, nenávist a to mezi tím” (That Red-haired) in Mladá Fronta publishing house. Readers can detect similarities to her personal life. The author describes everything that is happening from the perspective of a small child, teenage rebellious girl, and then, amorous woman who enters the world of men. She ends depicting motherhood without the usual sweet epithets. Now she’s working on writing another one.
Saudková is a mother of four children, she despises today’s tendency to look up at the baby as a little god. “Parents shouldn’t sacrifice themselves, they have their own lives too,” she said. On her photographs children appear rarely, but when they do, the atmosphere is filled with purity and kindness.
“She’s an old soul when it comes to creating photography, the usage of erotic style shows the enjoyments of life,” says Andreas Hamitouche Olsen, a photography student at Michael school in Prague. “It’s an uncommon style today: black&white and sepia pictures of naked people with an interesting atmosphere are simply amazing.”
Everyone expresses themselves differently, Saudková, like her former mentor, takes insightful photographs. One glance is enough to see the beauty, which is always hidden underneath the layers of clothes.
Endless depth of nudity, fearless women and men, both thin and plump, indoors and outdoors, all these are created by Saudková’s bottomless imagination.
“I am a draft horse that does everything at a full blast: love, family, work,” says Saudková, with a sparkle in her eyes and a smile.
Photo courtesy of Sára Saudková