New photo-book on Czech Leica photography in the period 1928-1954

Josef Jindřich Šechtl: Photographer's Diary 1928-1954, published by Marie Šechtlová, contains over 200 duotone reproductions of 35mm Leica images by Czech photographer Šechtl. An introductory essay by Josef Moucha puts the work in historical context.

Online PR News – 12-March-2013 – Tábor/Czech Republic – Josef Jindřich Šechtl: Photographer's Diary 1928-1954 immerses the reader in the distinctive vision of Josef Jindřich Šechtl (1877-1954). For this photographer, the making of compositionally balanced and technically precise images was not a sufficient objective in itself. Rather, Šechtl succeeded in using his 35mm Leica to capture the fleeting nature of private and public social events in all their particularity of time and place.

Šechtl had a keen eye for the often unnoticed and overlooked, while selecting subject matter to reflect the changing tides of historical destiny sweeping across his world. Living in the South Bohemian town of Tábor, Šechtl has been overlooked by historians due to their tendency to concentrate on practitioners from major urban areas.

Šechtl & Voseček Museum of Photography has been assembling and disseminating the photographs of the Šechtl family and those of their contemporaries over five generations, and Photographer's Diary 1928-1954 at long last brings Josef Jindřich Šechtl’s work to the public's attention.

An introductory essay by Josef Moucha situates Šechtl in the wider context of world photography.

As well as people with a passion for photography, the book will have special appeal for those with an interest in political and social history, and in particular how this history is mediated through images.

To preview the book please contact Jan Hubička,

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


Book launch

Thursday 5pm, 14 March 2013 at the Municipal Town Hall gallery, Žižkovo náměstí 1, Tábor, Czech Republic. (At 4pm before this event there will be a press conference, to which all journalists and interested parties are invited.)

Monday 7pm, 25 March 2013 at Leica Gallery Prague, Skolská 28, Prague 1. (At 6pm before this event there will be a press conference, to which all journalists and interested parties are invited.)

Additional events will be announced at


Mgr. Josef Moucha (1956*, Hradec Králové)

Photographer, critic and theoretician of photography, author and exhibition curator Josef Moucha studied print, television and film journalism at Charles University, Prague (1975–1980). From 1990 to 1995 he worked as an editor of the magazine Revue Fotografie. Since the mid-1990s he has been working as a freelance writer, frequently publishing in the periodicals Literární noviny, Ateliér and Fotograf. He has organized a number of individual as well as group exhibitions. He was co-founder in 1989 of Aktiv volné fotografie (Caucus of Free Photography), and in 1991 of the Prague House of Photography. He has collaborated on a number of projects, notably the publications Alternativní kultura: Příběh české společnosti 1945–1989 (Alternative Culture – A Story of Czech Society 1945–1989, 2001), and Fotogenie identity: Paměť české fotografie (The Photogeny of Identity: The Memory of Czech Photography, 2006). He is also author of Zážitek arény (Experience of the Arena, 2004), a collection of essays on the history of photography and the technical image, and the novella Mimochodem (By the Way, 2004).


Josef Jindřich Šechtl (1877*, Tábor – 1954†, Tábor)

Josef Jindřich Šechtl was a Czech photographer who specialized in documentary photography and portraiture.

Josef Jindřich Šechtl was born into the family of early Czech photographer Ignác Šechtl, who ran a photographic studio in Tábor, a town in South Bohemia. After finishing school in Tábor, Josef Jindřich became interested in chemigraphy (a method of printing photographs). At the age of 14 he started working as a trainee in Jan Vilím's polygraphic printing firm in Prague. From 1893 to 1895 he worked as a photographer at František Krátký's studio in Kolín, also serving an apprenticeship at Šechtl & Voseček studio in Tábor around this period. In 1899, after a year of military service, he started work at the affiliated Šechtl & Voseček studio in Czernovice, then capital of Bukovina. His work here included portraiture (the main source of income for the studio), coverage of public events, and topographical postcards.

Since photographs from Šechtl & Voseček studio do not usually bear a personal signature, it is not always clear which photographs of the period 1897–1911 were taken by Josef Jindřich Šechtl and which by his father Ignác Šechtl. Josef Jindřich’s influence on the work of the studio is, however, apparent. The studio started to publish photo-essays on historically significant events and to produce postcards signed Šechtl & Voseček. The earliest of the photo-essays —such as those covering a Sokol gymnastic festival (Slet) and Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I visiting Tábor in 1901— consisted of around twenty photographs. But the essays quickly grew larger, and the South Bohemia Economic-Industrial and Ethnographical Exhibition in Tábor in 1902 was recorded in over a hundred photographs.

Josef Jindřich became a partner in Šechtl & Voseček in 1904 and increasingly took over its direction until the death of his father in 1911. Under his lead the studio prospered. In 1906 he opened an affiliated studio in Pelhřimov (advertising among other things portraits under electric lighting), and in the same year Šechtl & Voseček was represented at the Imperial Austrian Exhibition in London. In 1907 he established a modern studio, largest in Bohemia outside Prague, on the main street of Tábor.

Soon after his father's death in 1911 Josef Jindřich married Anna Stocká, and their daughter Ludmila was born in 1912. Together they cultivated friendships with local artists, especially with sculptor Jan Vítìzslav Dušek. During the First World War Josef Jindřich was not conscripted and the studio continued business as usual. Soon after the war Josef Šechtl became a member of the Union of Photographers of the Czechoslovak Republic. In 1925 he opened a new studio in Pelhřimov, designed by architect Karel Chochola. Anna gave birth to their son Josef Ferdinand Ignác Šechtl in 1925, but only half a year later Anna died, which was a blow from which Josef Jindřich never really recovered, even though he was to remarry the following year.

In 1928 Josef Jindřich bought a Leica camera (which had only gone into production in 1925) and started recording life on 35mm film; he was thus a pioneer of Leica photography in the Czech lands. His Leica photography covers one of the most important developments in Czech history: from economic crisis of the late 1920s, through the Second World War, to liberation and the advent of Communism. The remainder of Josef Jindřich's story is told in the introductory text of the newly published book Josef Jindřich Šechtl: Photographer's Diary 1928-1954, and of course through all the pictures he took. Šechtl & Voseček Museum of Photography has digitized all the 35 mm film that survives, amounting to more than 8500 photographs, many of which can be viewed via the museum's website.

Over the course of Josef Jindřich's life photography had changed from being a job that could be taken up and practised quite freely into a regulated craft. This happened first for portrait photography in 1911, and in 1926 it was declared a craft entirely, requiring apprenticeship and a permit for its practice. In 1948, the new Communist government socialized all services, including photographic studios. Šechtl & Voseček studio was made into a syndicate and nationalized in 1951 and, as a former tradesman, Josef Jindřich Šechtl was granted a small pension in 1954, the year of his death.


Šechtl & Voseček Museum of Photography

The photographic studio Šechtl & Voseček was founded in 1865 by Ignác Šechtl (Schächtl in the German spelling). The business was passed down successive generations of the Šechtl family, from Ignác Šechtl to Josef Jindřich Šechtl, and then to Josef Šechtl and Marie Šechtlová. A thematically rich archive of hundreds of thousands of negatives and vintage photos has been preserved, representing 150 years of photography. The collection contains, for example, studio works (portraits and group pictures), pictures of memorable places, fine art photography, reportage photography and street photography.

Šechtl & Voseček Museum of Photography is a private museum in Tábor, Czech Republic, founded in order to digitize and make publicly available the photographs from the Šechtl & Voseček archives.

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