Product Dimensions: 1 x It makes me realize that for truly great work— it takes a long time. I extracted the most personally interesting bits below: 1. You are given this opportunity. When I left Czechoslovakia, I was discovering the world around me. Of course, one is still drawn to certain people.
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Product Dimensions: 1 x It makes me realize that for truly great work— it takes a long time. I extracted the most personally interesting bits below: 1. You are given this opportunity. When I left Czechoslovakia, I was discovering the world around me. Of course, one is still drawn to certain people. When Koudelka was exiled from Czechoslovakia— he had no other option but to travel.
He felt stateless— without a home. But at the same time, I think that being exiled was the best thing that ever happened to him. Nevertheless, when I lived in Czechoslovakia, freedom for me meant mainly being able to do what I wanted and, within our limited freedom, I was able to find space for my work.
I knew that if I was worth anything I had to prove it in my country. However on the other hand, he still does mention that he did have freedom to photography while he was still living in Czechoslovakia. Koudelka also sees the ultimate freedom as doing what you want to do— things that you believe in, things that interest you, and things you like to do. If you have even a little space or time in your life to carve out for your photography— that is all you need.
As long as you have enough freedom to make the photos you want, you should be happy and content. I realized that I could live and travel on the money that I would have spent on a flat.
I learned to sleep anywhere and under any circumstances. How did Koudelka do it? Easy— he made sacrifices. Huge sacrifices. We are the byproducts of a lifestyle obsession. So fuck off with your sofa units and strine green stripe patterns. What I am saying is that know that sometimes when we worry and fuss too much about money, our jobs, and material possessions— that we have less freedom in our lives.
The only good use I have found for money is giving me the freedom of time and attention— to do what I love doing writing for this blog, teaching, and sharing the love of street photography. So rather than putting in extra work hours at your job, perhaps you can use that time to shoot more. Rather than staying late at the office, use that time to study more photography books.
Rather than reading gear blogs online and lusting after that new camera— perhaps you can look at inspirational photos from Magnum photographers on the Magnum Photos website. But whenever I have an urge to buy a new camera, I think to myself: how many rolls of film, how many flights, how many photography books can this buy me? I also remind myself that it is experiences not material possessions which buy us happiness in life. I needed to know that nothing was waiting for me anywhere, that the place I was supposed to be where I was at the moment.
I once met a great guy, a Yugoslavian gypsy. We became friends. Tell me which place is the best. Where would you like to stay? Just as I was about to leave, he asked again. For example, I find the greatest joy not in completing photography projects— but in the pursuit.
I love shooting, I love editing and sequencing, I love getting feedback and critique— and I like publishing the work at the end. But once I have a body of work that is published, I get a bit depressive— because I no longer have a purpose, a goal, or something I am working towards.
I also feel the same with traveling. I enjoy traveling the most when I am in the midst of traveling. Once I get back home— the joy of traveling sort of wears off. After too much time at home I get antsy— and want to hit the road again. The same thing is in life. So when it comes to photography— enjoy the process, experience, and journey. The very first dummy was made in Now, thirty years and many dummies later, we have made the third and final version of this book.
It takes a while. You go through life, take photographs, the images together make some sort of sense. I am from the digital generation where everything is about instant gratification.
I hate waiting for stuff. I even get frustrated when my smartphone takes longer than a second to geo-locate me on Google Maps— or when it lags when I am searching for something on Google.
But one thing that Koudelka has taught me is the importance of being patient, waiting, and being diligent with our work and photography. Koudelka inspires me greatly, because most of his great projects have taken him over a decade. I know when I get the film processed, I will be able to be more objective in terms of editing my work deciding which to keep, and which to ditch. You go through life, take photographs, the images make some sort of sense.
We will value the quality of our images, how personal and meaningful they are to us— and this often takes a long time. Constructing, without haste, a sequence that we looked at afresh after a few days. The pleasure of putting it together. And Josef would call me to tell me that he had found some real improvement. Sometimes just one image added to the sequence. An image that had been overlooked but that now seemed meaningful.
This can help you create pairing associations, create a sequence, and create a flow for the book or project. Also another key takeaway I learned is the importance of a single image— how one image can make a huge improvement to the sequence of a book.
And I am sure it goes the opposite way: sometimes taking a photo away from a sequence can make the whole stronger as well.
Takeaway point: When you are working on a project or a book— make it physical. Be a child again. Throw all your prints on a table or on the ground , and shift them around. Invite friends and other photographers you trust. Ask them to pair your images together — and ask them to find associations in your images.
Ask for their feedback in terms of editing which to keep, which to ditch , and possible sequencing ideas. The world is his. As long as he has a camera in his hand. He loves to photograph and so he travels. He loves to be on the move.
He needs and asks for very little. He does what he needs to do to take the photographs he wants to take. He searches for beauty, and understands place. But this understanding of place is not about political events, not about an idea of home, and is not sentimental. People and landscapes interest him, and he knows very well how to adapt himself to any situation that may present itself.
This gives him the freedom to photograph what he wants, how he wants, in pursuit of beauty through the people and landscapes he shoots. Takeaway point: Know what you are interested in— and pursue it. All the cameras we have are more than capable to photograph amazing images even your smartphone will do. We have no excuses to not pursue photographically what interests us— with passion, love, and fervor. Know how to be adaptive in your photography also. Perhaps landscapes and portraits interest you— pursue that as well.
Koudelka — having shot mostly 35mm black and white film for several decades, now shoots panoramic landscapes on digital. Keep adapting or die. I was not allowed to go to the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. After 16 years of being stateless I was naturalized in France.
I received my passport in But even though now, at 76, I have two places where I can work— in Paris and in Prague— I keep moving, continuing. The world is big. There are endless possibilities for us as human beings and photographers. There is still so much unexplored areas photographically. Not everything has been shot before. Know that you have no limits— the world is yours to photograph.
So keep moving, keep continuing your journey in photography, and keep shooting. Each Chapter has images, and with the earlier chapters having more images. August
Biography[ edit ] Koudelka was born in in the small Moravian town of Boskovice , Czechoslovakia. He staged his first photographic exhibition the same year. Later he worked as an aeronautical engineer in Prague and Bratislava. In , he decided to give up his career in engineering for full-time work as a photographer.
Josef Koudelka: Exiles
Book Review: “Exiles” by Josef Koudelka