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Marie Šechtlová

Sechtlova zaoknem

If you were creatively minded in socialist Czechoslovakia, the 60s were pretty much the time to get it out of your system. The New Wave swam along, charming with flowers in its hair and the rest, and everyone got tired of the Man (the 60s were the 60s, communism or no communism). This came together in the Prague Spring, when the Czechs got so radical (a free press?!) that Russia — and everyone else, less that excellent Romania — sent in some tanks to sort this de-Stalinisation out. Long and fascinating story short (the Czechs have always been a charmingly unique bunch, historically solving most political dissent by throwing people out of windows), despite their best efforts the Czechs were calmed down by force and things ambled on til a wall fell over. 

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In the midst of this a woman named Marie took photos.

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She led the way in a style named Poetry of the Everyday, which says it all, and travelled the world — I mean it, even America — to take pictures of people doing whatever it is they do. The results are beautiful, honest and often stark.

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Tragically, an accident of x-rays in the late 60s damaged her hands beyond repair. While she continued to photograph, Ms Šechtlová was never as prolific. What remains, the product of a rare talent, is a view from the eye of a talented and thoroughly unique woman.

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