Josef Koudelka: Gypsies • Magnum Photos

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Past Exhibition

Josef Koudelka: Gypsies

Providing a poignant insight into their nomadic lifestyle, for 'Gypsies' Koudelka documented the Gypsy communities he encountered on his travels

Josef Koudelka

Josef Koudelka Festival of gypsy music. Straznice, Czechoslovakia. 1966. © Josef Koudelka | Magnum Photos
Josef Koudelka Gypsies. Zehra. Slovakia, Czechoslovakia. 1967. © Josef Koudelka | Magnum Photos
Josef Koudelka Reconstruction of a homicide. In the foreground: a young gypsy suspected of being guilty. Jarabina, Slovakia, Czechoslovakia. 1963. © Josef Koudelka | Magnum Photos
Josef Koudelka Gypsies. Bardejov, Slovakia, Czechoslovakia. 1967. © Josef Koudelka | Magnum Photos
Josef Koudelka Gypsy. Rakusy, Slovakia, Czechoslovakia. 1966. © Josef Koudelka | Magnum Photos

Gypsies by Josef Koudelka, presented at The Museum of Photography in Seoul from December 17, 2016, to April 15, 2017, features the photographer’s stark images of Gypsy life. Taken between 1962 and 1971, Koudelka was drawn to the nomadic lifestyle, rituals and customs of the Romany Gypsies he encountered whilst taking on a nomadic lifestyle of his own, travelling through his native Czechoslovakia and beyond to rural Romania, Hungary, France and Spain.

Despite depicting the simplicity of Gypsy life, Koudelka 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.