Culture

 

Czechs pay tribute to photographic great Josef Koudelka

 
photo:  (Josef Koudelka, photo: Štěpánka Budková)
 

Josef Koudelka, one of the greatest living Czech photographers and the only Czech to become a member of the prestigious Magnum Photo agency, turns 80 on Wednesday. Czechs will mark his anniversary with a series of events taking place throughout the year.

 
 

Josef Koudelka gained world recognition for his powerful images from the streets of Prague during the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. This is how he remembered the events some years ago in a rare interview for the Czech Radio:

“All I can say that is that when the unfortunate thing happened, I was fortunate enough to be there and take pictures of the event. I just took all my cameras and films and intuitively headed for the Czech Radio building.

“For some reason, I had this strange feeling that nothing can happen to me. This might be the reason why my pictures were different from those taken by other photographers.”

The pictures of the invasion, which Koudelka smuggled out of the country, were not published until 1969, when they appeared anonymously in the Sunday Times magazine. They were credited to P.P, an acronym for Prague Photographer, in order to protect himself and his family.

He is also known for his powerful black and white series called ‘Gypsies’, featuring portraits of the Czechoslovak and Balkan Roma as well as scenes from their daily life.

In 1970, Koudelka received a short-term visa to work with Magnum in London and didn’t return to Prague. Though he officially became a French citizen in 1987, he spent most of his life traveling and photographing disappearing landscapes and lifestyles, as well as destruction, chaos and war.

Koudelka’s most widely-recognised thematic works include Exiles, featuring photographs Koudelka made after leaving Czechoslovakia in 1970, echoing his feelings of departure and loss, and 'Chaos' which marks a fundamental change in his style, when he began photographing with a panoramic camera.

To mark Josef Koudelka’s 80th birthday, Czech Television will screen a documentary portrait of Josef Koudelka on Wednesday, mapping his career from the 1950s until today.

At the end of March, Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts will showcase a major retrospective of his work. The core of the exhibition will consist of around 400 photos, which Koudelka donated to the museum some five years ago.

These will be complemented by pictures loaned by the Magnum Photos Agency, selected by the exhibition’s curator Irena Šorfová and Koudelka himself. The exhibition will also display some of the iconic images from the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia.

In August, which marks the 50th anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion, the National Gallery in Prague will showcase a complete series of Koudelka’s pictures from 1968.

 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 10.01.2018
 
 
 

Related articles

 
Culture
 
 

New film recreates encounter between...

Little over a week before the centenary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia, a freshly released film...

 
 
Culture
 
 

MeetFactory’s ‘Slav Squatting’ Makes...

In one form or another, the stereotype of the “squatting Slav” has likely made its way to your social...

 
 
Culture
 
 

Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ to open Strings...

The annual international music festival Strings of Autumn kicks off on Tuesday with a concert at Prague’s...

 
 
Culture
 
 

Tiger Lillies capture two ‘Bohemian...

Self-described “Brechtian punk cabaret” trio Tiger Lillies recorded their upcoming album last week at...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

 
 

Facebook recent activity