Czech-French photographer Josef Koudelka began with photographing his family through a 6x6 Bakelite camera; by the 60's, he would have his first photographic exhibition. Koudelka would take photographs of gypsies in Romania, two days before the Soviet Red Army invades.
The day before, the people of Prague were warned in time.
Koudelka would take photographs before and during the invasion through the 70's and 80's, and eventually would lead him to exile. Koudelka lived in London and then Paris. He would travel around Europe, and produce photographs which would document his life away from his homeland. It was during this period in which he would produce magical images of his oeuvre -- for capturing the human spirit amidst dark, depressing landscapes of desolation, despair, alienation and waste. He sees the human spirit as fragile, but very enduring.
“To be in exile is simply to have left ones country and to be unable to return. Every exile is a different, personal experience. Myself, I wanted to see the world and photograph it. That’s forty-five years I’ve been traveling. I’ve never stayed anywhere more than three months. When I found no more to photograph, it was time to go. When I took the decision not to return, I realised that I wanted an experience of the world that I could not have imagined when I lived in Czechoslovakia.”
Witness the series "Exils", considered to be the magnum opus of Koudelka's oeuvre in Josef Koudelka: La fabrique d'exils at the Galerie de photographies - Centre Pompidou, Paris.
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