Koudelka

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Overview

Stark, impassioned, and singularly intense, the work of the itinerant and fiercely independent Czech photographer, Josef Koudelka, has received deserved acclaim over the past three decades for having made a uniquely significant contribution to the language of photography. This major new monograph presents the most comprehensive survey of Koudelka's work to date, bringing together more than 150 of his most eloquent images--from his earliest, many published here for the first time, to his most recent: mesmerizing ...
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Overview

Stark, impassioned, and singularly intense, the work of the itinerant and fiercely independent Czech photographer, Josef Koudelka, has received deserved acclaim over the past three decades for having made a uniquely significant contribution to the language of photography. This major new monograph presents the most comprehensive survey of Koudelka's work to date, bringing together more than 150 of his most eloquent images--from his earliest, many published here for the first time, to his most recent: mesmerizing studies of the European landscape made with a panoramic camera. Whether photographing Prague's avant-garde theater scene in the 1960s, the secretive world of the Eastern European gypsies, Czech resistance to the Soviet advance on Prague, or the environmental degradation of our postindustrial world, Koudelka has consistently produced transformative images that stand outside of time and place. In the words of the legendary French photography-world figure and Koudelka's longtime champion and publisher, Robert Delpire, "Koudelka brings an intense eye and full heart to each place, object, and person. This work proves once again that he is a photographer with unique personality and power." Beautifully produced with duotone printing and three gatefolds, this volume also contains eight original essays, each exploring a different aspect of Koudelka's work and illustrating the artist's constant evolution and intensity.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Revealing the breadth of Josef Koudelka's artistic achievement, this lavish collection gathers over 150 of the photographer's major works in one volume for the first time. Born in 1938 in Moravia (now in the Czech Republic), Koudelka grew up behind the Iron Curtain and trained to be an aeronautical engineer. His early images, including production stills for a Czech repertory theater company and tense shots of the Soviet invasion of Prague demonstrate the rigorous compositional eye, taste for the theatrical and otherworldly strangeness that define his work. The pictures are always accessible, but Koudelka's arrangements and printing style push much of his work toward somber dreaminess. (Some of the brief monographs interspersed with the pictures are informative; others are filled with pretentious jargon.) After his exile from Czechoslovakia in 1970, he quickly found a home at the renowned Magnum agency with the support of Cartier-Bresson. In Koudelka's subsequent work—a series on Gypsies; stunning, nearly abstract landscapes; the shipping of a colossal Lenin statue through the Balkans—he remains a poet with a lens, capturing a deeply personal vision while documenting the real world. This collection confirms Koudelka's status as one of the most versatile and singular age-makers in contemporary photography. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Koudelka is known for his bleak yet beautiful black-and-white photographs of Prague and eastern Europe. Part documentary and part fine art, his dark works range over the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia and Gypsies in Romania. Through it all, Koudelka captures the beauty and dignity in the people and the landscape. This handsome career overview (since the mid-1970s) is organized into seven thematic chapters that focus on the artist's earlier photo series: "In the Beginning," "Experiments," "Theater," "Gypsies," "Invasion," "Exiles," and "Chaos." Beautifully designed and illustrated, it features essays by writers such as Michel Frizot and Robert Delpire, who introduce each chapter. Koudelka, whose earlier publications include Josef Koudelka, Chaos, and The Exiles, is a member of Magnum Photo and currently resides in France. Highly recommended for all collections.
—Shauna Frischkorn

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597110303
  • Publisher: Aperture Foundation
  • Publication date: 3/28/2007
  • Pages: 276
  • Sales rank: 728,902
  • Product dimensions: 11.98 (w) x 11.52 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in 1938 in a tiny Moravian village, Josef Koudelka began making pictures as a teenager with a 6 x 6 inch Bakelite camera. While working as an aeronautical engineer in Prague and Bratislava in the 1960s, he started to photograph the theater in Prague, then the gypsies of Slovakia and Romania. In 1968, he recorded the invasion of Prague by the Warsaw Pact armies, and his work became internationally known, winning him the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal. Koudelka left Czechoslovakia in 1970, and was awarded asylum in England. He became a member of Magnum in 1974, but has refused most journalistic assignments: in constant movement, he prefers to wander Europe in search of pictures of a world that is rapidly disappearing. He has been the recipient of many major grants and awards, including the Grand Prix Cartier-Bresson in 1991.
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