Josef Koudelka • Photographer Profile • Magnum Photos

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"The maximum, that is what has always interested me"

- Josef Koudelka

b. 1938


Based in Paris, France


Available for commissions
& assignments

Josef Koudelka, born in Moravia, made his first photographs while a student in the 1950s. About the same time that he started his career as an aeronautical engineer in 1961 he also began photographing Gypsies in Czechoslovakia and theater in Prague. He turned full-time to photography in 1967.

The following year, Koudelka photographed the Soviet invasion of Prague, publishing his photographs under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer) for fear of reprisal to him and his family. In 1969, he was anonymously awarded the Overseas Press Club’s Robert Capa Gold Medal for those photographs.

Koudelka left Czechoslovakia for political asylum in 1970 and shortly thereafter joined Magnum Photos. In 1975, he brought out his first book Gypsies, and in 1988, Exiles. Since 1986, he has worked with a panoramic camera and issued a compilation of these photographs in his book Chaos in 1999. Koudelka has had more than a dozen books of his work published, including Invasion Prague 68 (2008), and, most recently, La Fabrique d’Exils (2017).

He has won significant awards such as the Prix Nadar (1978), a Grand Prix National de la Photographie (1989), a Grand Prix Cartier-Bresson (1991), and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1992).

Significant exhibitions of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; the Hayward Gallery, London; the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; the Institute of Chicago; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

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Selected works


Josef Koudelka: The 1968 Prague Invasion

Josef Koudelka

Josef Koudelka recalls the night the Prague Spring ended and his journey toward becoming a Magnum photojournalist began

Open story

From the Magnum Shop


Josef Koudelka

Most Recent

Theory & Practice

Koudelka: Shooting Holy Land

Josef Koudelka

Theme | 11 Stories

Magnum On Set

Arts & Culture

Magnum On Set: Josef Koudelka and Ulysses’ Gaze

Josef Koudelka

Past Exhibition
, France

Koudelka’s Invasion: Prague 68 at La Gacilly Photo Festival

Josef Koudelka
Until Sep 30, 2019

Theme | 8 Stories

Magnum and Cinema

Past Exhibition
Amman, Jordan

Koudelka’s “Gypsies” at the Image festival Amman

Josef Koudelka
Until Apr 30, 2019

Theme | 18 Stories


Theme | 19 Stories

2018 at Magnum Photos

Theme | 10 Stories


Past Exhibition
Helmond, Netherlands

Josef Koudelka’s “Industrial Landscapes” Opens in Helmond

Josef Koudelka
Until Jan 27, 2019

Past Exhibition
Munich, Germany

“Magnum Manifesto” in Munich

Magnum Photographers
Until Jan 27, 2019

Past Exhibition
Palermo, Italy

Koudelka’s “Invasion 68 Prague” Opens in Palermo

Josef Koudelka
Until Jan 31, 2019


Koudelka’s Beirut: The Vision of What Cannot Be Seen

Josef Koudelka

Past Exhibition

Josef Koudelka: The Wall/Beirut

Until Dec 22, 2018


Josef Koudelka: The 1968 Prague Invasion

Josef Koudelka

Theme | 7 Stories

On Photobooks

Past Exhibition
Jumièges, France

Josef Koudelka: Vestiges

Josef Koudelka
Until Nov 13, 2018

Past Exhibition
Brussels, Belgium

Koudelka’s “Invasion 68 Prague” Opens in Brussels

Josef Koudelka
Until Aug 12, 2018

Past Exhibition
Gdansk, Poland

Koudelka’s ‘Invasion 68 Prague’ Opens in Poland

Josef Koudelka
Until May 27, 2018

Past Exhibition
London, United Kingdom

Magnum Photos at Photo London 2018

Magnum Photographers
Until May 20, 2018