Josef Koudelka: Next

A Visual Biography by Melissa Harris


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The definitive and only authorized biography of Josef Koudelka—an intimate portrait of the life and work of one of photography’s most renowned and celebrated artists.

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The definitive and only authorized biography of Josef Koudelka—an intimate portrait of the life and work of one of photography’s most renowned and celebrated artists. Throughout his more than sixty-year-long obsession with the medium, Josef Koudelka considers a remarkable range of photographic subjects—from his early theater work, to his seminal project on the Roma and his legendary coverage of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Prague, to the solitariness of exile and the often-devastating impact humans have had on the landscape. Josef Koudelka: Next embraces all of Koudelka’s projects and his evolution as an artist in the context of his life story and working process. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of almost a decade with Koudelka—as well as ongoing conversations with his friends, family, colleagues, and collaborators worldwide—this deftly told, richly illustrated biography offers an unprecedented glimpse into the mind of this notoriously private photographer. Writer, editor, and curator Melissa Harris has independently crafted a unique, in-depth, and revelatory personal history of both the man and his photography. Josef Koudelka: Next is richly illustrated with hundreds of photographs, including many biographical and behind-the-scenes images from Koudelka’s life, as well as iconic images from his work, from the 1950s to the present. The visual presentation is conceived in collaboration with Koudelka himself, as well as his longtime collaborator, Czech designer Aleš Najbrt. Copublished by Aperture and Magnum Foundation

Format: Paperback / softback
Number of pages: 352
Number of images: 282
Publication date: 2023-11-21
Measurements: 7.25 x 9.5 inches
ISBN: 9781597114653


“Melissa Harris’s visual biography, intriguingly titled Next, was written with his cooperation, and is a thorough and informative overview of his life and work. Rich in personal ephemera – family portraits, snapshots and glimpses of his many journals – it traces his trajectory from Boskovice, a small town in Moravia, where he had dreams of becoming an engineer, to his status as one of the world’s most revered photographers.”

Josef Koudelka: Next: A Visual Biography by Melissa Harris reads as a thorough and deeply collaborative book, with Koudelka’s presence felt on every page.”—Magnum Photos


Melissa Harris is editor at large of Aperture and served as editor in chief of Aperture magazine from 2000 to 2012. Since 1990, she has also edited more than forty books for Aperture. Harris curates exhibitions worldwide, and teaches at New York University at the Tisch School of the Arts, in the department of Photography and Imaging / Emerging Media. She served on New York City’s Community Board 5 for several years, is a trustee of the John Cage Trust, and author of A Wild Life: A Visual Biography of Photographer Michael Nichols (Aperture, 2017).
Josef Koudelka (born in Moravia, Czech Republic, 1938) is a member of Magnum Photos and has received the Prix Nadar, Grand Prix National de la Photographie, HCB Award, and Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and International Center of Photography, New York; Hayward Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
Aleš Najbrt studied typography and book design with Jan Solpera at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, Prague. He was an art director of the influential Czech weekly Reflex and founder of his own magazine, Raut. With Pavel Lev, he cofounded Studio Najbrt.

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