June 25, 2014
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Today I start an occasional series on the great photographers, those who are referred to as masters. This series will be to introduce you to photographers who you may have heard of but never investigated or perhaps you have never come across and so are completely new to you.
Today I introduce Josef Koudelka
Documentary, Landscape, Photojournalism
Biography: Born in a tiny village of Moravia, Koudelka began photographing his family and surroundings as a teenager with a 6 x 6 Bakelite camera.
He was trained at the Technical University in Prague and worked as an aeronautical engineer in Prague and Bratislava from 1961-67. He had been able to obtain an old Rolleiflex and in 1961, while working as a theater photographer in Prague, he also started a detailed study of the gypsies of Slovakia, who were then undergoing further attempts to “assimilate” them within the Czech state. His work was the subject of an exhibition in Prague in 1967.
In 1968 Koudelka extended his project to gypsy communities in Rumania and that same year recorded the invasion of Prague by Warsaw Pact armies. Smuggled out of the country with the help of Czech curator Anna Farova and published with the initials P.P. ( Prague photographer) to protect his family, the highly dramatic pictures showing Russian tanks rolling into Prague and the Czech resistance became international symbols and won him the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal………more
As a member of The Magnum Photo Agency he is already considered one of the greats alongside Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa etc. This link is a short film about his work of the Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 from the Magnum in Motion series
Further information can be found in this excellent Guardian interview with Koudelka in 2008
Koudelka is a photographer whose work is impossible to ignore because each image throws up so many stories, as you look at a picture and start to try to understand the reasons why the shutter was released at that moment a range of emotions, expectations and ideas come to you. His work is rarely decorative, it is always demanding and about difficult subjects. In some ways the early work of Oxford photographer Paddy Summerfield reminds me of Koudelka, Paddy’s early work is on permanent exhibition in the reception area of the Old Bank Hotel on the High Street in Oxford. Paddy is a reluctant interwebber so although he is often mentioned he no longer has his own site but this might give you some idea of his work
The hope is that with these occasional introductions you will find someone whose work you are absorbed by and undertake further investigations or maybe even go and buy a book
December 17, 2013
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from L1GHTB1TES another gem from György László
GL: Any image is a record of two roads crossing: the person behind camera walks onto the path of the person in front of it. How did this meeting happen?
BB: This picture was born like many others of mine, like almost all of them. First, I check out if something is happening today in the town (or in the world) I am living in. For the past almost 20 years this city has been Budapest. That day in 2004, Hungary was celebrating joining the European Union. Having lived here – at that time – for more than 10 years, I knew that e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e was waiting for this moment. A huge, festive weekend took place and I was out with friends and kids, strolling on the waterfront, on the Buda side. When I had the feeling that something was about to happen I stopped and waited and told my friends that we’d meet somewhere later. Ninety-eight percent of the time I am alone when I work, but I remember that this day, there were many of us around.
GL: The metaphor we use when talking about ‘capturing a moment’ is misleading in some ways. A moment like this is about the years, months or minutes leading up to it that get you ready, as a photographer, as an observer to capture it.
Bruno_Bourel_Jaszai Mari ter-2BB: This is very difficult to explain. This is maybe the essence of the medium. To reach that rare moment of grace where everything is (?!) or seems to be perfect, seems to fall into place for the structure of the image: light, composition, emotions and above all – for me – the strength of a picture to go beyond time, the particular date or year that it was taken. No relation to time, just an instant extended to a whole lifetime. I think an image could guide or live with you until you die!!!
One has to disappear in front of the model, being at the right time at the right place and being willing to share a human emotion. I think I am walking on a very thin line: many subjects and topics all guided by the light that surrounds me and the goal is to go beyond the surroundings and to show the inner light!!!
And yes this requires concentration, paying attention almost every minute while at work. After all, everything is in front of you, but you do have to pick it up!!!