All images in this article are copyrighted by Josef Koudelka and Magnum Photos. “Exiles” by Josef Koudelka is one of the must-buy books of. Josef Koudelka: Exiles [Josef Koudelka, Czeslaw Milosz, Robert Delpire, Stuart Alexander] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. About Exiles. Josef Koudelka Exiles Publisher: Aperture; 3 edition (October 31, ) Essay by Czeslaw Milosz Language: English Hardcover: pages.

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I recommend reading this article by saving it to PocketInstapaper. All images in jozef article are copyrighted by Josef Koudelka and Magnum Photos.

Before writing this book review, I re-read the book several times, read a lot of interviews by Josef Koudelka— and reflected on the book and the life and photography of Koudelka.

JOSEF KOUDELKA: “Czeslaw Milosz on Josef Koudelka’s Exiles”

To sum up, I believe that Josef Koudelka is one of the best photographers who has ever lived and is still living koudelkx — and his philosophies on life and photography has deeply inspired and moved me. In-fact, I have already written several articles on him:. I have also discovered that there is a huge shortage of photography book reviews on the internet although there are tons of gear reviews online. I just came back from Dubai a few days ago, and am still massively jet-lagged there is an exact hour time difference between Dubai and Berkeley in California but will try to koudelkaa writing more photography book reviews.

I have a sizeable number of photography books in my library which I cherish— and I hope to share some of the lessons, my personal thoughts, and ioudelka on these books. This new edition is published inand includes 10 new images. Every edition changed the sequencing of images and edit slightly. The new edition kouvelka a total of 75 images, ranging from the years — images over exkles 26 year span!

It makes me realize that for truly great work— it takes a long time. I extracted the most personally interesting bits below:.

You are given this opportunity. When I left Czechoslovakia, I was discovering the world around me. Of course, one is still drawn to certain people. When Koudelka was exiled from Czechoslovakia— he had no other option but to travel.

He felt stateless— without a home. But at the same time, I think that being exiled was the best thing that ever happened to him. Nevertheless, when I lived in Czechoslovakia, freedom for me meant mainly being able to do what I wanted and, within ou r limited freedom, I was able to find space for my work. I knew that if I was worth anything I had to prove it in my country. However on the other hand, he still does mention that he did have freedom to photography while he was still living in Czechoslovakia.

Koudelka also sees the ultimate freedom as doing what you want to do— things that you believe in, things that interest you, and things you like to do. If you have even a little space or time in your life to carve out for your photography— that is all you need. As long as you have enough freedom to make the photos you want, you should be happy and content.

I realized that I could live and travel on the money that I would have spent on a flat. I learned to sleep anywhere and under any circumstances. Many of us envy the life and photography of Koudelka.


Easy— he made sacrifices. This makes me think of some quotes from the movie Fight Club which talks a lot about how not owning material possessions can help us have more freedom: What I am saying is that know that sometimes when we worry and fuss too much about money, our jobs, and material possessions— that we have less freedom in our lives.

The only good use I have found for money is giving me the freedom of time and attention— to do what I love doing writing for this blog, teaching, and sharing the love of street photography. So rather than putting in extra work hours at your job, perhaps you can use that time to shoot more.

Rather than staying late at the office, use that time to study more photography books. Rather than reading gear blogs online and lusting after that new camera— perhaps you can look at inspirational photos from Magnum photographers on the Magnum Photos website. But whenever I have an urge to buy a new camera, I think to myself: I also remind myself that it is experiences not material possessions which buy us happiness in life.

I needed to know that nothing was waiting for me anywhere, that the place I was supposed to be where I was at the moment.

I once met a great guy, a Yugoslavian gypsy. Tell me which place is the best. Where would you like to stay? Just as I was about to leave, he asked again. Koudelka realized that for his personal life— he needed to travel to take photographs.

For example, I find the greatest joy not in completing photography projects— but in the pursuit. I love shooting, I love editing and sequencing, I love getting feedback and critique— and I like publishing the work at the end. But once I have a body of work that is published, I get a bit depressive— because I no longer have a purpose, a goal, dxiles something I am working towards.

I also feel the same with traveling. I enjoy traveling the most when I am in the midst of traveling. Once I get back home— the joy of traveling sort of wears off. After too much time at home I get antsy— and want to hit the road again. The same thing koudelja in life. So when it comes to photography— enjoy the process, experience, and journey.

The very first dummy was made in Now, thirty years and many dummies later, we have made the third and final version of this book. It takes a while. You go through life, take photographs, the images together make some sort of sense.

I am often in a rush to shoot, edit, and complete projects. I am from the digital generation where everything is about instant gratification. I hate waiting for stuff. I even get frustrated when my smartphone takes longer than a second to geo-locate me on Google Kodelka or when it lags when I am searching for something on Google.

But one thing that Koudelka has taught me is the importance of being patient, waiting, and being diligent with our work and photography. Koudelka inspires me greatly, because most of his great projects have taken him over a decade. I know when I get the film processed, I will be able to be more objective in terms of editing my work deciding which to keep, and which to ditch.


You go through life, take photographs, the images make some sort of sense. We will value the quality of our images, how personal and meaningful they are to us— and this often takes a long time.

Constructing, without haste, a sequence that we looked at afresh after a few days. The pleasure of putting it together. And Josef would call me to tell me that he had found some real improvement.

Sometimes just one image added to the sequence. An image that had been overlooked but that now seemed meaningful. This can help you create pairing associations, create a sequence, and create a flow for the book or project.

Also another key takeaway I learned is the importance of a single image— how one image can make a huge improvement to the sequence of a book. And I am sure it goes the opposite way: When you are working on a project or a book— make it physical. Be a child again.

Throw all your prints on a table or on the groundand shift them around.

Invite friends and other photographers you trust. Ask them to pair your images together — and ask them to find associations in your images. Ask for their feedback in terms of editing which to keep, which to ditchand possible sequencing ideas. The world is his. As long as he has a camera in his hand. He loves to photograph and so he travels. He loves to be on the move. He needs and asks for very little. He does what he needs to do to take the photographs he wants to take. He searches for beauty, and understands place.

But this understanding of place is not about political events, not about an idea of home, and is not sentimental. People and landscapes interest him, and he knows very well how to adapt himself to any situation that may present itself. I think one of the most important things as a photographer is to be adaptive— to adapt to certain environments, to adapt when working on projects knowing when to change or ditch a projectand knowing how to adapt when shooting certain areas or individuals.

This gives him the freedom to photograph what he wants, how he wants, in pursuit of beauty through the people and landscapes he shoots. Know what you are interested in— and pursue it. All the cameras we exlies are more than capable to photograph amazing images even your smartphone will do.

We have no excuses to not pursue photographically what interests us— with passion, love, and fervor.

Josef Koudelka: Exiles | International Photography Magazine

Know how to exiless adaptive in your photography also. Perhaps landscapes and portraits interest you— pursue that as well. Koudelka — having shot mostly 35mm black and white film for several decades, now shoots panoramic landscapes on digital. I was not allowed to go to the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. After 16 years of being stateless I was naturalized in France. I received my passport in