Stark, impassioned and singularly intense, Josef Koudelka’s work has received deserved acclaim over the past three decades as a uniquely significant contribution to the language of photography. Koudelka is the first book to present over 150 of his most eloquent images in a single volume, from his earliest images – published here for the first time – to his most recent panoramic landscape studies.
Whether photographing avant-garde theatre, gypsies throughout Eastern Europe, resistance to Soviet guns and tanks advancing on Prague, or the environmental degradation of a post-industrial world, Koudelka has consistently produced images that provoke a connection to the larger questions of human existence. As John Szarkowski comments in the opening pages of Koudelka's first monograph, Gypsies, his pictures 'seem to concern themselves with prototypical rituals, and a theatre of ancient and unchangeable fables... Perhaps they describe not the small and cherished differences that distinguish each of us from all others, but the prevailing circumstance that encloses us.'
Robert Delpire, Koudelka’s longtime publisher, collaborated with the artist in conceiving and producing this title. 'His images and their precise compositions stand outside time and place,' writes 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 a unique personality and power.' The other essayists in Koudelka each explore a different aspect of the artist’s work, illustrating his constant evolution and intensity.