© Josef Koudelka/Magnum Photos
In 1968, Josef Koudelka was thirty years old. He had committed himself to photography as a full-time career only recently, and had been chronicling the theater and the lives of gypsies, but he had never photographed 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 freedom in Czechoslovakia that came to be known as the “Prague Spring.” In the midst of the turmoil of the Soviet-led invasion, Koudelka took to the streets to document this critical moment. It was a major turning point in his life
The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography in Moscow, Russia, present the exhibition of the legendary Czech photographer Josef Koudelka—“Invasion 68 Prague”—a series that not only embodies a key period of Czech history, but also has become recognized as a classic example of the photo-documentary genre. Forty years later, these photographs, which have been seen around the world, will be shown in Moscow. This is the most famous series of images by Josef Koudelka in history of photo reportage.
Koudelka’s photographs of the invasion were miraculously smuggled out of the country. A year after they reached New York, Magnum Photos distributed the images, but credited them 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 passed before Koudelka could safely acknowledge authorship.
The exhibition, Invasion 68 Prague, is comprised of images personally selected by Josef Koudelka from his extensive archive, and is co-produced with Magnum Photos. Conceived as an installation, it features large-scale, ink-jet prints as well as related texts.
This exhibition is made possible, in part, by generous support from Mark and Elizabeth Levine. Additional support provided by HP and Coloredge.
Exhibition on view:
Thursday, October 7–Sunday, December 4, 2011
The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography
Marsh embankment, 3, p. 1