Josef Koudelka started using a camera in panoramic format in 1986 while participating in the photographic mission of the DATAR, whose objective was to “represent the French landscape of the 1980s”. He thus crisscrossed France, then the entire world, to take stock of modern humanity’s influence on the landscape.
This exhibition gathers 40 panoramic photographs that bear witness to major human works, ranging from factories to quarries, or enormous mining complexes and abandoned zones. They carry the viewer into inaccessible and little-known areas, between sublime and disarray, to witness the imposing reality of the industry that we try now to erase.
Koudelka was born in 1938 in the Moravian town of Boskovice. Until 1967 he worked as an aeronautical engineer. At the same time he photographed theater productions in Prague and worked on a series about Sinti and Roma. The photos he took in August 1968 of the Soviet tanks crushing the reform movements of the Prague Spring were printed all over the world. The photographs were awarded the “Robert Capa Gold Medal” in 1968 under the pseudonym “Prague Photographer”. It was only 16 years later, after the death of his father, that he publicly acknowledged his authorship. He has received several awards including the Grand Prix National de la Photographie (1987), the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award (1991) and the I’ICP Infinity Award (2004).