This fall, Aperture republished Josef Koudelka’s classic work Exiles, first published in 1988 by Robert Delpire. This latest edition includes a dozen new photographs. Readers will appreciate Koudelka’s nomadic spirit in his travels across Europe, from Ireland to Spain, from England to Switzerland, and from his native Czechoslovakia to his adopted country of France.
This journey is about humanism, passion, alienation and disconnection without ever being sentimental. Although the pictures are famous, they remain as magnificent and mysterious as ever, and evoke some of the great social themes of the 20th century, including large-scale migration. With the power that characterizes his style, Koudelka transcends the representation of people and objects, creating a surprising poetry of the world, his time and the disturbing things he witnessed.
“Exile is a test of internal freedom and that freedom is terrifying,” wrote Czesław Miłosz in the original introduction to the book. “Freedom of exile is of that lofty sort, though it is imposed by circumstances and, therefore, deprived of bathos. A brief formula may encapsule the outcome of that struggle with our own weakness: exile destroys, but if it falls to destroy you, it makes you stronger.” And Cornell Capa said of Koudelka’s photographs: “Koudelka’s unsentimental, stark, brooding, intensely human imagery reflect his own spirit, the very essence of an exile who is at home wherever his wandering body finds haven in the night.”
Photographs by Josef Koudelka
Texts by Czesław Miłosz, Josef Koudelka and Robert Delpire
186 pages, 77 B&W photographs