Josef Koudelka

Josef Koudelka (b. 1938) is a Czech-born French itinerant photographer. Firstly, he is known for his seminal photo-books about the gypsies in Eastern Europe, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. As well as the Black Triangle, a region of environmental devastation. Consequently, the black and white images in these photo-books represent key moments in human history. Henceforth they afford us the opportunity to learn from the experiences of alienation, conflict, despair, waste, loss, and departure. Furthermore, he uses photography to distil and visualize human values that have shaped our current human condition.

Firstly, Koudelka turned full-time to photography in 1967. The following year, Koudelka photographed the Soviet invasion of Prague. Later, publishing his photographs under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer) for fear of reprisal to him and his family. In 1969, he was anonymously awarded the Overseas Press Club’s Robert Capa Gold Medal for those photographs.

Koudelka left Czechoslovakia for political asylum in 1970 and shortly thereafter joined Magnum Photos. Next, In 1975, he brought out his first book Gypsies, and in 1988, Exiles. Since 1986, he has worked with a panoramic camera and issued a compilation of these photographs in his book Chaos in 1999. Koudelka has had more than a dozen books of his work published, including Invasion Prague 68 (2008), and, most recently, La Fabrique d’Exils (2017).

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