Josef Chladek is a photobook collector based in Vienna
Episode 262: Josef Chladek is a photobook collector based in Vienna. His project Virtual Bookshelf is mandatory reading/education for anybody vaguely interested in the photobook.
I have known Josef for some years and have always found his vigor in regards to the scouting, hunting, and collecting of photobooks to be unparalleled. I have found myself spending hours on his site digging through incredible gems from the medium of the photobook that I would otherwise have little to no access to seeing. His work in selecting, photographing, and contextualizing photobooks on his site/archive, which is roundly available for little to no money per year is exemplary, to say the least.
The passion that Josef exudes when speaking about photobooks is palpable. In our conversation, we took time to think about his work and the importance of protecting the value of his labor through the use of a donation function. I am pro-paywall as you are probably aware if you are reading this. Josef comes to the donation wall from a completely different means, that of Copywrite. He got there after having a number of other online platforms remove large amounts of his work only to post them on their own sites without credit. All of his work in setting up the site, photographing each book, etc was simply copy and pasted. We spoke about how this led him to protect his content and why that is important.
We spoke about Josef’s background and how he came into photobooks and how his site has become a sprawling compendium for the medium. Please tune in to this. Josef is one of the most generous people working in photography and his efforts should not be ignored.