Fotograf Magazine

To Collect Pictures in Books

As Manfred Heiting confirmed in the recent interview for British Journal of Photography, his collection of photographic books burnt down during the fires in California last year. In 2002, he donated his extensive collection of photographs to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and his collection of photo books, currently deposited in his house in Malibu, was supposed to be moved to the museum in 2023. Heiting has been interested in photographs and photo books since the mid-’60s. During the 1970s and 1980s, he bought thousands of volumes, but it was not until in the 1990s that he started to build a comprehensive collection based on the best- preserved specimens and mainly focused on Europe, Japan and Russia. After two representative volumes, introducing Russian and Japanese books and published by Steidl, Heiting focused on Czechoslovakia. The extensive volume presenting over 800 photo books includes essays by Amanda Maddox, Vojtěch Lahoda, Petr Roubal, James Steerman, and Thomas Wiegand. The authors deal with the Sokol festivals and communist Spartakiads, the inter-war production of photographic publications, the development of high-quality gravure by Neubert and sons printing works, Josef Sudek, photo books documenting Nazi war crimes, the Third Czechoslovak Republic and the rise of communism, the city in photographic publications as a source of foreign currency during communism, and Josef Koudelka’s books. The heart of every bibliophile and photography lover leaps with joy over the amount of reproduced photographic publications published in Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1989. The introduction and graphic design by the editor of the book (dedicated to Anna Fárová and celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, 90 years since the publication of Josef Sudek’s Saint Vitus’s Cathedral and Josef Koudelka’s 80th birthday, and commemorating 50 years since the Soviet invasion) both emphasize the concept based on the celebration of Czech culture and the overt admiration for Olga and Václav Havel.


Manfred Heiting, Vojtěch Lahoda, Amanda Maddox, Petr Roubal, James Steerman, and Thomas Wiegand. Czech and Slovak photo publications 1918–1989. Göttingen: Steidl, 2018. ISBN 978-3-95829-497-4

Hana Buddeus