Josef Koudelka – Roma

Göttingen. Steidl 2011. German. 121 pages, with num. b/w ills. 24.5 x 32.5 cm. 1,6 kg. Cloth. 9783869303888. art-10443
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A revised and enlarged version of Koudelka’s classic book Cikáni, prepared by Koudelka and graphic designer Milan Kopřiva in 1968, and intended for publication in Prague in 1970.

Josef Koudelka left Czechoslovakia in 1970 after extensively documenting the Russian invasion of Prague in August 1968, and the book was eventually published in 1975. This extended version consists of 109 photographs taken between 1962 and 1971 in the former Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, France and Spain.

Koudelka’s stark images depict the simplicity of Gypsy life, but he does not present their situation as a social problem that should somehow be fixed. Instead, he shows the Gypsies as perpetual outsiders, and their lives as a primal mix of glee and wonder, sorrow and mystery.

Will Guy, author of the text that accompanied the first publication of Gypsies, has contributed an updated essay, tracing the migration of the Roma from their original homeland in northern India, to their current status – one that continues to be contested internationally.
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