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Josef Koudelka

Josef Koudelka was born in Moravia (Czechoslovakia) in 1938. Initially an aeronautical engineer, he launched full time into photography in the late 1960s. In 1968, he took photographs of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, which he published under the pseudonym P. P. (Prague Photographer) and for which he was anonymously awarded the Robert Capa prize. Forty years later, a considerable number of these photographs, accompanied by reference texts, were published under the title Invasion Prague 68.

Koudelka left Czechoslovakia in 1970 and became stateless before obtaining political asylum in England. Shortly afterwards, he joined Magnum Photos. In 1975, the first edition of his book Gypsies was published (a revised and improved edition was released in 2011). This was followed by the publication of Exiles in 1988. Since then, Koudelka has published ten photographic collections focusing on the relationship between contemporary life and the landscape, including The Black Triangle (1994), Chaos (1999), Lime (2012), and Wall (2013).

Koudelka has exhibited at the MoMA and at the International Center of Photography in New York, at the Hayward Gallery in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. He has received the Nadar Prize (1978), the Grand Prix national de la photographie (1989), the Grand Prix Cartier-Bresson (1991), the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1992), and the Czech Republic Medal of Merit (2002). In 2012, he was named Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.

He lives in Paris and Prague.

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