Item description for Josef Koudelka by Karel Hvizdala Anna Farova...
Known for his higly formalized, senisitive images of the vestiges of gypsy life, Czech photographer Josef Koudelka has been traveling the world since 1962, documenting their communities in Eastern Europe, England, Ireland, France, and Spain. Living as his subjects do, constantly on the move and defiantly independent, Koudelka has always refused magazine and commercial assignments, and has worked for years without a permanent darkroom. Focusing on the rituals of everyday life, on birth, marriage, and death, he has produced years of work, including the cycles reproduced here: Theater, Gypsies, Prague 1968 (Invasion), Exiles, and Chaos. These well-known series are complemented by lesser-known photographs from the 1950s. Included as well are an essay by Czech art historian Anna Farova, who has followed Koudelka throughout his career, and an expansive interview with the artist conducted by Karel Hvizdala over a period of 10 years.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Josef Koudelka?
Nice handy book Mar 16, 2008
I bought this book having purpose to get acquainted with work of Josef Koudelka. The book fits my needs: it has 66 probably most famous Koudelkas photographs.
The photographer is introduced by Berbard Cuau in 4 pages, I found the text is really worse reading to understand something about Koudelka's specific vision.
This book is nice printed and accurate designed. All photographs provided with date and a country name, where they were taken. Shortcoming: I don't completely understand the order in which photograph's are located, neither by the date, nor by the place.
The book is really handy, but it is not a defect for me - it was made to quickly review Koudelka's works and to make people understand if they are interested in this photographer. And in that case they can spend more time and money and buy one of that huge serious albums.
I give this book 4 starts because I was a bit disappointed: there is no "toughtful 12-page essay by Anna Farova that introduces Koudelka's pictures, as well as the 24-page transcription of a conversation between Josef Koudelka and a fellow Czech journalist" as I expected after reading comments at this site. There is only 4-page introduction and a short biography and bibliography of the photographer.
The Lone Wanderer's Eye Captures Truth Jun 27, 2007
Review of 5.5" x 5.5" paperback, hopefully there is a larger hardbound edition somewhere.
There is an excellent introduction by Anna Farova who had known the photographer for 40 years by the time of the writing and is a leading photography historian. The book also possesses an insightful discussion between Karel Hvizdala and the photographer although it isn't quite as captivating.
But the true light of this book are the images of Josef Koudelka, starting with the theatrical experiments up through the emotional environmental shots. I am glad that they chose the theatrical experimentations as they link all of the work together. Without these images I would have said leave the pure landscapes out as they just don't fit with Koudelka's images of people. It is the theatrical images that show that the landscapes are more about how the environment shapes what you are seeing, changing the subject matter into an emotional statement.
Throughout Koudelka's images you are on the outside looking in and you can never be on the inside looking out. You want to feel for the subject but you know you can not feel what the subject is feeling.
To me Koudelka surpasses Sudek as a poet in the manner of e.e. cummings being compared to Shakespeare. One may be a classic master but the other is redefining what is being mastered.
excellent introduction for Koudelka's work May 14, 2007
This is an excellent book for someone who is trying to get acquianted with the work of Koudelka. It's compact and has a basic introduction of Koudelka's work. Besides the photos I found extremely interesting the discussion with Koudelka at the end of the book. Extremely interesting and gives you a nice flavor of the philosophy and way of life of the man. That made me appreciate him even more.
Comprehensive overview of Koudelka's work Jun 12, 2006
To follow up on a comment by a previous poster, I will say that even if English is NOT your first language but you DO HAVE a good command of English, you will appreciate the toughtful 12-page essay by Anna Farova that introduces Koudelka's pictures, as well as the 24-page transcription of a conversation between Josef Koudelka and a fellow Czech journalist. Anna Farova's essay is particularly enlightening as it goes over the different stages that Koudelka went through as an artist particularly as they relate to the selection included in this booklet. The book also includes a comprehensive bibliography of Koudelka's work.
Koudelka is famous for how stubborn he is about showing new images, and this book isn't an exception as it is a review of the photographer's most-known bodies of work: Gypsies, Invasion 1968, Exiles, Chaos. Let assured however, the most if not all of Koudelka's iconic images are present, and the quality of the reproduction is very high (for example, some of the photos from Exiles have much better definition and contrast than their reproduction in my copy of the revised edition published by Delpire in '97). Also, you get a rare glimpse of the photographer's earlier work from the late 50's and of his theatre photography from the early 60's in Czechoslovakia.
Considering the high prices of other books by Koudelka, this book is a bargain, and if you're new to this photographer's work, it's a great place to start.
Lacking in content Nov 6, 2002
If English is your language, then this book has 2/3 of useless text for you as it includes other languages. The text in this book is surprisingly lean, take out the other languages and you would have a very thin book indeed. Further, the texts are quite a dull read, except for the interview (which is the most interesting part of this book aside from the photographs), the text reads like someones college report.
The image reproductions are well done, but be aware that there are not a lot of them....