Josef Koudelka Invasion Prague 68
In 1968, Josef Koudelka was a 30-year-old acclaimed theater photographer who had never made pictures of a news event. That all changed on the night of August 21, when Warsaw Pact tanks invaded the city of Prague, ending the short-lived political liberalization in Czechoslovakia that came to be known as the Prague Spring. Koudelka had returned home the day before from photographing gypsies in Romania. In the midst of the turmoil of the Soviet-led invasion, he took a series of photographs which were miraculously smuggled out of the country. A year after they reached New York, Magnum Photos distributed the images credited to “an unknown Czech photographer” to avoid reprisals. The intensity and 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 searing images–most of them published here for the first time–personally selected by Koudelka from his extensive archive. Interspersed with the images are press and propaganda quotations from the time, also selected by Koudelka, alongside a text by three Czech historians. Though the images gathered in this remarkable publication document a specific historical event, their transformative quality still resonates.
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