Background information"This book, 'Gypsies' by Czech Magnum photographer Joseph KOUDELKA, is the first realized version (edited by Robert DELPIRE) of the original maquette for 'Cikáni' (Czech for Gypsies), prepared by himself and graphic designer Milan Kopřiva in 1968, and intended for publication in Prague in 1970. But Joseph KOUDELKA left Czechoslovakia in 1970 after extensively documenting the Russian invasion of Prague in August 1968. So, the book 'Gypsies' was never published in that original form.
Content'Gypsies' by Joseph KOUDELKA consists of 60 photographs taken mostly in the separated gypsy settlements in East Slovakia during the period 1962-68.
"Joseph KOUDELKA's photographs aim at a visul distillation of a pattern of human values: a pattern that involves theater, large gesture, brave style, precious camarderie and bitter loneliness. The pattern and texture of his pictures form the silent equivalent of an epic drama. The pictures by Joseph KOUDELKA seem to concern themselves with prototypical rituals, and a theater of ancient and unchangeable fables. Their motive is perhaps not psychological but religious. Perhaps they describe not the small and cherished differences that distinguish each of us from all others, but the prevailing circumstance that encloses us." (© John Szarkowski)
The book is completed by a five-paged text by sociologist Will Guy.
Book reviews"Stark images by Joseph KOUDELKA depict the poverty and clannishness of Gypsy life, but unlike many documentary photographers, he does not present their situation as a social problem that can somehow be fixed. Instead, he shows the Gypsies as perpetual outsiders, and their life as a primal mix of glee and wonder, sorrow and mystery." (slightly adapted, © The New York Times)
"The photo volume 'Gypsies' by Joseph KOUDELKA gives a palpable sense of a people apart, unto themselves, dislocated from contemporary society and even time." (slightly adapted text, © Huffington Post)
- Will Guy
- Book design
- Robert DELPIRE
- Re-edit, cloth bound HC (tipped-in-title in silver letters) with dust jacket, 30,5 x 29 x 2 cm., approx. 140 pp., 61 b/w. ills., text language: English