Tag Archives: Josef Koudelka

Koudelka’s Gypsies on view @ FORMA, Milan

Gypsies is without a doubt one of the most important works of photography of the 20th century.

Last Thursday, Fondazione FORMA per la fotografia opened the much-anticipated “Gypsies by Josef Koudelka”, a world premier exhibition of the work of Josef Koudelka based on his seminal 20th century monograph, Gypsies, the artist’s 9-year photographic survey of the gypsy communities of Eastern Europe. The exhibition revisits the artist’s original intention for the work, based on the original sequencing and maquette prepared in 1968 by Koudelka and graphic designer Milan Kopriva. Koudelka intended to publish the work in Prague, but was forced to flee Czechoslovakia, landing eventually in Paris and leaving the book long unpublished. In 1975, Robert Delpire, Aperture, and Koudelka collaborated to publish Gitans, la fin du voyage (Gypsies, in the English-language edition), a selection of sixty photographs taken in various Roma settlements around East Slovakia. Robert Delpire is currently the subject of  a multi-venue career retrospective exhibition in New York City.

FORMA‘s exhibition of this work calls upon Aperture’s expanded edition, featuring 109 photographs of Roma society taken between 1962 and 1971. Printed under close supervision of the artist, expressly for Forma, the images on view recount the everyday life of gypsy communities in the sixties in Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, and occasionally France and Spain.

This exhibit is presented in collaboration with Magnum Photos.

Gypsies by Josef Koudelka
On view through September 16, 2012

Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia
Milan, Italy
39 02.5811.8067


›› Buy Gypsies by Josef Koudelka (Aperture 2011) for 30% off
›› From the 2011 archive, TIME Lightbox reviews Josef Koudelka’s Gypsies, Revisited

Delpire’s Children’s Books at The French Embassy







Photos Courtesy Cultural Services / The French Embassy in the U.S.

Over the course of the last month, upwards of 300 children from elementary schools across New York City were invited to visit the special exhibition of Robert Delpire’s children’s books at Cultural Services of the French Embassy, part of the city-wide celebration of Delpire’s six decades of visionary publishing work, in conjunction with Aperture’s own 60th anniversary celebration.

These free morning workshops offered interactive, bilingual activities including monster mask-making inspired by Actibum’s The Masks, readings from André François’ Crocodile Tears and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, book cover design and more.

The exhibition closed Friday, June 8, 2012, but if you missed out make sure to view this video from the French Embassy, Where The Wild Things Are : an Homage to Maurice Sendak and Les editions Delpire, and check out the remaining Delpire & Co. exhibitions on view.

Through July 19, 2012:

  • Classic publications by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, William Klein, Josef Koudelka, Sarah Moon and more at Aperture (547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor).
  • Contemporary photography from Michael Ackerman, Jehsong Baak, Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt, Harry Gruyaert and more at The Gallery at Hermès/Fondation d’entreprise Hermès (691 Madison Aveune).
  • Illustraitions from the Poche Illustrateur series, celebrating Roman Cieślewicz, Honoré Daumier, Etienne Delessert and more at La Maison Française of New York University (16 Washington Mews, at University Place).

Through July 16, 2012:

  • Sarah Moon: Now and Then at Howard Greenberg Gallery (41 E. 57th St.).
  • A Tribute to Robert Delpire: Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Josef Koudelka, Duane Michals, and Paolo Roversi at Pace/MacGill Gallery (32 E. 57th St., 9th Floor).

Delpire & Co. Opens @ Aperture, Throughout NYC

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Aperture Gallery was abuzz Wednesday evening, hosting the much-anticipated New York City launch of Delpire & Co., the citywide, multi-venue retrospective of the life and work of legendary editor, curator and publisher, Robert Delpire. Following presentations in Arles and Paris, Delpire & Co. arrives to New York City with representation at six venues throughout Manhattan.

Aperture’s Wednesday opening was the first of the week (followed by Thursday night openings at the French Embassy, and Gallery at Hermes), welcoming a strong roster of photography legends and pillars of the photographic community. Sarah Moon, Mary Ellen Mark, and Josef Koudelka were in attendance, standing alongside their own seminal works on view, as well as celebrated photographers Bruce Davidson and Susan Meiselas. Multiple films by filmmaker/photographer Sarah Moon were on screen, including 1970’s TV spots directed by Moon for Cacharel (7 min), as well as “Le Montreur d’images (The Go-Between)” (2009), her feature length documentary on husband Robert Delpire.

Peter Barberie
, Curator of Photographs for the Philadelphia Art Museum was in attendance Wednesday evening, as well as Jeff Hirsch of FotoCare, and Wendy Byrne, former designer for Aperture Foundation. Special thanks to exhibition producer Mike Derez, and Project Coordinator Agnès Gagnès of Idéodis.

Delpire & Co. runs through June at venues throughout the city. Like us on Facebook to view a full album of photos from the opening.

›› Click here for details on all the exhibitions and events.
›› Join the conversation on Instagram and Twitter using #Delpire
›› The New Yorker presents a stunning and concise slideshow summary of books and photographs from among the displays at Aperture, Hermès, Pace/MacGill, and Howard Greenberg.

Delpire & Co., Opening Tonight


Delpire season is upon us.

Tonight Aperture Gallery launches the New York City run of Delpire & Co., opening their W27th street space to the public, showcasing a rich, multimedia exhibition celebrating the revered curator, editor, publisher, and overall champion of photography, Robert Delpire.
In the next several weeks, a comprehensive retrospective of Delpire’s career will be exhibited across four venues in New York City: Aperture Gallery, The Gallery at Hermès, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and La Maison Française. Concurrent with Delpire & Co., Pace/MacGill and Howard Greenberg will have exhibitions on view in celebration of Robert Delpire’s life and work.

Here’s what you can expect to see throughout New York City:


Aperture Gallery

On view: May 9 through July 19

Highlights: Classical and seminal publications by now-iconic photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein, Robert Frank (see: “The Americans”), Josef Koudelka, and Sarah Moon. Delpire’s work with magazines will also be featured, including the very first issue of Neuf (founded by Robert Delpire at the ripe age of 23), and Nouvel Observateur Spécial Photo, as well as advertising projects for diverse clients from Cacharel, Citroën, L’Oréal, and the French Ministry of Culture.


Cultural Services of the French Embassy

On view: May 11 through June 6

Highlights: The embassy will be exhibiting the original French editions of beloved illustrator Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and Crocodile Tears.

The Gallery at Hermès/Fondation d’entreprise Hermès

On view: May 11 through July 19

Highlights: Robert Delpire’s famed Photo Poche series is on view, as well as prints from contemporary photographers such as Harry Gruyaert, Jehsong Baak, Michel Vanden Eeckhout, Michael Ackerman, Francesco Zizola, Raymond Depardon, Robert Doisneau, Paolo Pellegrin, Marc Riboud.


La Maison Française of New York University

On view: May 18 through July 19

Highlights: This exhibition focuses on the Poche Illustrateur series, celebrating notable illustrators such as Roman Cieślewicz, Honoré Daumier, Etienne Delessert, Guy Peellaert, and Saul Steinberg.


› In addition, two supporting exhibitions will be on view; Sarah Moon at Howard Greenberg Gallery, featuring new work, and Pace/MacGill Gallery will exhibit works by prominent photographers such as Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka, Duane Michals, Paolo Roversi, and Alfred Stieglitz.

Visual Supplement: This week in the magazine The New Yorker ran photographs by Sarah Moon and Lee Freidlander, both of which are part of exhibitions celebrating the work of Delpire. Online, The New Yorker presents a stunning and concise slideshow summary of books and photographs from among the displays at Aperture, Hermès, Pace/MacGill, and Howard Greenberg.


Delpire & Co. is coproduced by Rencontres d’Arles, la Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Delpire Editeur, and Aperture Foundation.Delpire & Co. has been made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Etant donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art, the E.T. Harmax Foundation, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Master of the Photobook: Robert Delpire’s Long and Legendary Influence

Few publishers in the history of photography have had as lengthy a track record of producing books that are now considered the medium’s landmarks as Robert Delpire. As most post-war publishers often have had brief existences in the world of photobook publishing (which is stunningly disadvantageous financially), over the past 60 years, this former medical student and hobbyist photographer created and managed one of the most iconic photography and graphic arts publishing houses in Paris: Éditions Delpire. A Tribute to Robert Delpire through the work of Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Josef Koudelka, Duane Michals and Paolo Roversi runs from May 10 – June 16 at the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York City.

Sarah Moon

Robert Delpire

Delpire’s transition from 23-year-old medical student to publisher came when he was asked to become editor-in-chief of the Maison de la Medicine’s cultural bulletin for its doctors. Delpire imagined the bulletin as a subscriber-based art review that would be richly illustrated, with a focus on photography. The first issue of Neuf (meaning both ‘new’ and ‘nine’) appeared in June 1950, and over the course of its run, would devote much of its content to photographic works by Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Izis (Israëlis Bidermanas), Willy Ronis and a young unknown artist, Robert Frank. Two of the issues were essentially monographs of Brassaï (Neuf #5) and Robert Frank (Neuf #7), which pointed toward Delpire’s interest in publishing books of photography.

Editions Delpire

Robert Frank’s Les Américains, 1958

One link between many of Delpire’s publications would be his interest in anthropology, as could be seen when he switched to publishing monographs of photographers under the short-lived imprint Huit (Eight). Robert Doisneau’s Les Parisiens Tels Qu’ils Sont (Parisians As They Are, 1954), Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Les Danses à Bali (Dances in Bali, 1954) and George Rodger’s Le Village des Noubas (The Village of the Nubas, 1955) are studies in the documentary vein encapsulated in three small-format hardcover books that feel like case studies of mankind. In 1957, he created a small collection of books on culture called the Encyclopédie Essentielle, which included the first appearance of Robert Frank’s Les Américains (The Americans, 1958). That legendary magnum opus came across less as the beatnik road-trip as which it was later perceived, but instead with a particular anthropological flavor through texts—by literary luminaries such as Faulkner, de Beauvoir, Steinbeck and others—that Delpire positioned opposite Frank’s photographs.

Delpire’s career path has been as varied as the books he has published. Aside from the realm of photobooks, he has run a publicity agency with clients that included Citroën and L’Oréal, opened a gallery in Paris, produced a number of films including two by the photographer and filmmaker William Klein, created a creative studio and publishing house called Idéodis and became the first French publisher of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are.

Photo Poche

A Photo Poche about the photographer Nadar.

In 1982 he was appointed by the French arts minister Jack Lang to be director of the Centre National de la Photographie, where he would organize exhibitions and create a collection of small pocket-sized books called the Photo Poche—the most successful series of photography monographs ever published. To date there are over 150 books in the collection, covering a wide range of photographic practices from the documentary-style traditions of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans and Lee Friedlander to the fine arts of Duane Michals, Paolo Roversi, Sarah Moon and Joel-Peter Witkin. Hardly any photographer’s bookcase is without a selection of these black-spine bound books.

Nevertheless, of all of his accomplishments, the name Delpire most conjures up his hand in the creation of books such as Josef Koudelka’s Gitans La Fin du Voyage (Gypsies – The End of the Voyage, 1975) and Exiles (1988), Cartier-Bresson’s D’une Chine à l’Autre (From One China to the Other, 1954) and Moscou (Moscow, 1955), Inge Morath’s Guerre à la Tristesse (War on Sadness, 1955) and De la Perse à l’Iran (From Persia to Iran, 1958), William Klein’s Tokyo (1964) and Indiens pas Morts (Indians not Dead, 1956) with photographs by Werner Bischof, Robert Frank, Pierre Verger.

Today, at 86, Delpire seems to sum up his accomplishments with a deceptively simple statement: “A publisher’s job is to showcase the work of others,” says Delpire. “It’s not just the work of a team; it requires deep mutual understanding. I’ve never published anyone who was of no interest to me.”

The Pace/MacGill Delpire tribute opens May 10 in New York City. Five simultaneous companion exhibitions across the city will expand on Delpire’s work.

Jeffrey Ladd is a photographer, writer, editor and founder of Errata Editions. Visit his blog here.

Delpire & Co., New York City


As part of our sixtieth anniversary celebration, Aperture Foundation, in collaboration with our partners, presents the exhibition Delpire & Co. featuring a half century of achievement in the life and career of visionary French publisher, editor, and curator Robert Delpire.

Over the past sixty years, the eyes and instincts of Robert Delpire have shaped much of the world’s understanding of photography. A prolific publisher and exhibition organizer, with a razor-sharp comprehension of the graphic arts, Delpire has had a defining hand in the careers of many of the master photographers of recent history.

“Nous avons une autre conception du lecteur”, André François, 1972; “Qui êtes-vous Polly Maggoo”, poster for film directed by William Klein, produced by Robert Delpire, 1965; Henri Matisse, France, 1944, photograph by Henri Cartier- Bresson.

Delpire & Co. (Delpire et Cie in the original French) was one of the highlights of the Rencontres d’Arles in summer 2009, and was subsequently given a major presentation at la Maison Européenne de la Photographie (related video) in Paris from October 2009 to January 2010—to which Vingt Paris Magazine said, “Savor it”—with the continued support of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès.

The exhibition showcases Delpire’s rise to prominence in the world of photography through his pioneering and seminal work in magazine (see: Neuf, Le Nouvel Observateur, Photo Poche) and book publishing—titles including Gypsies (Aperture 2011) and Koudelka (Aperture 2007)— films, curatorship, and advertising for the past fifty years.

Delpire & Co. will be divided among four different venues, creating altogether a comprehensive exhibition on Delpire’s many initiatives. Howard Greenberg Gallery and Pace/MacGill Gallery will also have exhibitions concurrently on view in celebration of Robert Delpire’s life and work.


Delpire & Co. Exhibition
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
6:00–8:00 pm
Exhibition on view: Thursday, May 10, 2012–Thursday, July 19, 2012


Aperture Gallery
New York, New York

›› Click here for details on all the exhibitions and events.
›› Join the conversation on Instagram and Twitter using #Delpire
›› Buy Gypsies, Photographs by Josef Koudelka w/ essay by Will Guy for 30% off.

Invasion 68: Prague

Warsaw Pact troops invade Prague. In front of the Radio Headquarters. Prague, Czechoslovakia, August 1968; from Invasion 68: Prague (c) Josef Koudelka

August 21, 1968. Hours after 30-year-old Josef Koudelka–then nascent career photographer–returned to Prague, having spent the past several years documenting the lives of Romanian gypsies, Soviet tanks suddenly cross the Czechoslovakian border. 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 2000 tanks head to Prague and occupy the capitol.

“Our city is experiencing perhaps the most trying moment in our recent history,” the Municipal Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist party of Prague announces. The country, then under the sphere of Soviet influence, had been occupied by foreign armies several times before, but never by troops from allied, supposedly friendly countries.

According to the a statement issued by TASS, the Soviet Press Agency earlier that day, the USSR made an appeal to Warsaw pact countries for immediate assistance, including armed forces, “to the fraternal Czechoslovak people.” They said the request was made “because of the emergent threat to the socialist system and statehood provided for by the constitution of Czechoslovakia.”

The “threat” comes as news to the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, which broadcasts a statement calling upon “all citizens of the republic to remain calm and not to put up a resistance to the advancing troops because defense of the frontiers is now impossible.”

As tensions mount, ‘Prague’, the Free Legal Radio Transmitter, surrounded by Soviet infantrymen broadcasts a reiteration: “Friends… any resistance to the superior force is utterly futile. This is not defeatism; our only chance is in our preventing bloodshed, because bloodshed makes no sense at all in the present circumstances. Please remain calm, as calm as possible.”

Despite a largely passive and civil resistance, 72 Czechs and Slovaks loose their lives, hundreds others are wounded.

Warsaw Pact tanks invade Prague. Prague, Czechoslovakia, August 1968; from Invasion 68: Prague (c) Josef Koudelka

Koudelka had never covered a news event at that point. He spent the first seven days of the invasion making a series of stunning, emotionally charged images in central Prague. The photographs he managed to have smuggled out of the country and a year later distributed anonymously by Magnum Photos. They earned him the Robert Capa Award, though he could not claim authorship until 16 years later when threats to his family had ceased.

Nearly 250 of these images were published, many for the first time, 40 years after the event in the monograph Invasion 68: Prague (Aperture 2008). Select photographs paired with related texts, including radio transcripts and eyewitness testimonies, are now part of a traveling exhibition opening in Porto Alegre, Brazil this Sunday, April 29, 2012 (at FestFotoFoA through May 27, 2012).

Protesting the Warsaw Pact troops invasion. Prague. Wenceslas Square, August 1968; from Invasion 68: Prague (c) Josef Koudelka

“The invasion of Czechoslovakia was meant ‘to restore order,’ to return a country that had broken off its chain to the position of an obedient vassal,” write Jiri Hoppe, Jiri Suk, and Jaroslav Cuhra in their introduction to the monograph. But, “urgent appeals were made to avoid violence,” and the tanks and assault rifles were “met by a wave of words and gestures.”

One mode of resistance was called the ‘anonymous town,’ in which “the names of streets, institutions, government offices and road signs were painted over with the aim of making it difficult or impossible for the soldiers to get their bearings in an unknown environment.” Substituted instead were wall scribblings with messages like, “Moscow – 1,800 km.”

Koudelka’s series, “is not a chronological record,” he writes, “although the historical sequence of events during the first week of the occupation is take into account. Rather, the intent is to evoke the atmosphere of those days.”

Exhibition on view:
Sunday, April 29, 2012–Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rua Sete de Setembro, 1028
Porto Alegre, Brazil

A Brief, Photographic History of Republished Books

As we increase our understanding of the history of photography as defined by its great accomplishments in bookmaking, the question of the availability of that printed history becomes central. The coveted first edition of a classic photo book can at times demand a higher price tag than even original photographic prints. The art of “the book,” in some circles, has overshadowed the offerings of the gallery world.

Reprints of older photobooks, commonly known as second editions, have been one way for newer generations of photographers and students of photography to become familiar with and learn from artists who came before them. Books have served me by informing and inspiring me throughout my own photographic practice for more than two decades.

But where multiple printings are common with books of literature or non-fiction, reprints are not as common for many visual books after they are considered out of print. This usually rests on two main factors: First, in the world of art book publishing, there is rarely financial gain for the publisher involved, let alone the artist. The second factor is that artists tend to be resistant to repetition, thinking that reprinting the same exact book, edition after edition, seems to be an unnecessary act.

The result is that the books tend to become rare and increasingly valuable to collectors, leaving them sought-after but difficult to see firsthand. In a medium where the book plays such an important role in its progression, it is an unfortunate fact that so many examples of some of the greatest photobooks have been essentially lost to history. That notion fueled my own publishing project, Errata Editions, which offers studies of rare photobooks that won’t see a traditional reprint because of the aforementioned reasons.

In the Errata series of “books on books,” each volume is dedicated to the study of one photobook that has been recognized as important to the history of the genre. They present images of all of the page spreads contained in the original books, along with contemporary essays about the book. Within three years, we have published twelve volumes that include studies of books by Eugene Atget, Walker Evans, Chris Killip, William Klein, Paul Graham, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, David Goldblatt and others.

Artists open to reprinting their books often tinker with their creations by reediting. However, a complete reenvisioning of the book in its entirety was apparent with Josef Koudelka’s book Gypsies. That book represented a kind of revisioning in reverse, as the 2011 edition is actually closer to Koudelka’s original vision for the book, whereas the 1975 edition was a construction of Robert Delpire, the editor and publisher.

For many other artists, what might be seen as the flaws of youthful instinct give way, over time, to a desire to clean up the editing or design in any given book, or to revisit contact sheets and give new life to many images that were left out of the original book. The Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson has republished some of his classic books, such as East 100th Street and his recent new edition of Subway, both of which present newly edited material. Davidson has also taken the advances in printing technology to heart as additional attention has been made to color-correct the images to Davidson’s current slightly colder palette.

An interesting case in point is William Klein’s masterwork Life is Good & Good for You in New York, first published in 1956. When Klein revisited those same photographs in the mid-1990s, he completely redesigned and reedited the work—removing much of the original’s energetic and experimental design—until there was little, if any, similarity to the original book. “The first book was about graphic design. The second was about the photography,” he says of the two editions. Whether you agree or not, that resistance to repeat is apparent.

Over the years a resurgence of reprints has hit bookstores, and a few have come from the German publisher Steidl. Last December saw a set of facsimile reprints of several important, if somewhat obscure, political photobooks with The Protest Box, edited by the British photographer and photobook historian Martin Parr. Elsewhere, Dewi Lewis has released another printing of the Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken’s exquisite 1954 Love on the Left Bank, which is faithful to the original. And a new edition of one of the top-selling photobooks of all time, the 1972 Diane Arbus monograph from Aperture, is now available.

While not all photobooks considered great or groundbreaking will see a reprint, one can hope that enough will exist to maintain a full sense of photobook history.

Jeffrey Ladd is a photographer, writer, editor and founder of Errata Editions. Visit his blog here.