A delicatessen

A delicatessen in Prague, 1990 or 1991, photo Caleb Crain

A photograph from 1990 or 1991 of a delicatessen in Prague.

This photo happens to be one that I took myself, but it reminds me that I ought to direct readers to the work of the photographer Iren Stehli, whose images of Prague streets, shops, and store windows from the 1970s through the 1990s beautifully evoke the era.

Václav Havel famously wrote an essay, “The Power of the Powerless,” that focuses on the moral dilemma of a shop-owner who feels obliged to decorate his store’s window with Communist paraphernalia. Stehli took the picture of that shop-window, as well as of intimate moments of life under socialism in Czechoslovakia. Her website displays a generous sample of her work, and the Czech publisher Torst has issued a lovely monograph of her images.

If this image were included in an extra-illustrated binding of the novel Necessary Errors, the binder could position it pretty much anywhere. (For an explanation of extra-illustration, click here.)