KOUDELKA, Josef. Srpen 1968. Respekt. Příloha Srpen 1990. (Praha): (Nezávislé tiskové středisko), (1990).

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(KOUDELKA, Josef).
Srpen 1968. Respekt. Příloha Srpen 1990.
(Praha): (Nezávislé tiskové středisko), (1990).

Tabloid (326 × 275 mm), pp.32. 46 black-and-white photographs. Text by Anna Fárová and Josef Koudelka. Black-and-white photo-illustrated saddle-stapled self wrappers; light wear, nicks to edges, handling marks, and inevitable age-toning to newsprint. A duplicate from the library of Eric & Louise Franck with their bookplate laid in. Very good.

First edition, originally issued as a supplement to the weekly Czech periodical Respekt in August 1990. This was the first time that Koudelka’s photographs of the invasion were published in his native Czechoslovakia, a year after the Velvet Revolution brought an end to Communist rule, and twenty-two years after the photographs were originally taken. The day before Soviet forces invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968, Josef Koudelka had returned home to Prague after spending time in Romania where he was photographing gypsies, a subject he had been working on for several years at the same time that he was starting to develop a successful career as a theatre photographer.

Largely due to the efforts of art historian Anna Fárová and Eugene Ostroff a curator of photography at the Smithsonian Institution, a small number of Koudelka’s photographs of the invasion were smuggled into the United States where Ostroff showed them to Elliott Erwitt who arranged for Magnum Photos to distribute the photographs to newspapers and magazines all over the world, many of whom published them in 1969 to mark the first anniversary of the invasion. In order to protect Koudelka and his family, who still lived in Prague, the photographs were attributed to ‘P.P.’ (Prague Photographer). The overseas Press Club of America awarded the ‘anonymous Czech photographer’ the Robert Capa Gold Medal.

In 1970, Koudelka managed to leave Czechoslovakia on the invitation of Magnum so he could continue his documentation of European Gypsies. He decided against returning to Prague and instead sought refuge in England, from there he emigrated to France where he became a Magnum associate in 1971 and full member in 1974.

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