PraguePhotographs by Josef Koudelka
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In 1968, Josef Koudelka was an acclaimed thirty-year-old theater photographer who had never photographed a news event. That all changed on the night of August 21, when Warsaw Pact tanks invaded Prague, ending Czechoslovakia’s short-lived political liberalization, the Prague Spring. The day before, Koudelka had returned home from photographing gypsies in Romania. In the midst of the turmoil of the Soviet-led invasion, this series of photographs were miraculously smuggled out of the country and distributed in New York by Magnum Photos, anonymously to avoid reprisals. The significance of the images earned the still-anonymous photographer the Robert Capa Award. Sixteen years would pass before Koudelka could safely acknowledge authorship.
Forty years after the invasion, this impressive monograph features nearly 250 of these images—many published here for the first time—personally selected by Koudelka. Though they document a specific historical event, their transformative quality still resonates. A compelling introduction and chronology by three Czech writers provides a nuanced examination of the invasion.
Invasion 68: Prague made possible, in part, by generous support from the E.T. Harmax Foundation.
Josef Koudelka (born in Moravia, Czech Republic, 1938) has received the Prix Nadar, Grand Prix National de la Photographie, Grand Prix Cartier-Bresson, and Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; Hayward Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. A member of Magnum Photos, he is based in Paris.