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Koudelka: Gypsies Hardcover – September 30, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review




Rarely has a body of work been so deserving of two completely different editions.Time


Mr. Koudelka's stark images depict the poverty and clannishness of Gypsy life, but unlike many documentary photographers, he does not present their situation as a social problem that can somehow be fixed. Instead, he shows the Gypsies as perpetual outsiders, and their life as a primal mix of glee and wonder, sorrow and mystery.The New York Times


Gives a palpable sense of a people apart, unto themselves, dislocated from contemporary society and even time.Huffington Post


Koudelka brings to life the even older world of the Roma gypsies that he encountered in his travels in the late 1960s and early 1970s in images that resonate with mystery and ritual, romance and hardship.The Guardian

From the Inside Flap



This book is a revised and enlarged version of the original maquette for Josef Koudelka’s Cikáni (Czech for Gypsies) prepared by Koudelka and graphic designer Milan Kopřiva in 1968, and intended for publication in Prague in 1970. Koudelka left Czechoslovakia in 1970 after extensively documenting the Russian invasion of Prague in August 1968. The book was never published in that original form.

This extended version consists of 109 photographs taken between 1962 and 1971 in what was, at the time, Czechoslovakia (Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia), Romania, Hungary, France, and Spain. The word Gypsies (the common name for this group when the photographs were taken between 1962 and 1971, before the current term Roma was established) is used as the book title.

Sociologist Will Guy, author of the text that accompanied the first publication of Gypsies, has contributed an updated essay, tracing the migration of the Roma from their original homeland in northern India, to their current status—one that continues to be contested internationally.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 109 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture; First Thus edition (September 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597111775
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597111775
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 1 x 12.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. J. Mickleburgh on September 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Josef Koudelka's "Gypsies", first published in the United States by Aperture in 1975, has long been a scarce and desirable example of this artist's work. The new edition, published by Aperture and printed by Gerhard Steidl, demonstrates just how far the craft of making books has advanced in the past 35 years.
The book differs in several ways from its predecessor, though it represents the same body of work. First, it utilizes a vertical rather than a horizontal format. Horizontally formatted images are presented as two-page spreads almost 20 inches wide, meaning that Koudelka's marvelous use of wide-angle lenses can be viewed in the correct perspective. Two-page spreads usually fail because of the space lost to the gutter, but the new "Gypsies" is beautifully bound and opens almost flat.
There are also no distracting reflections, because the book is printed on matte stock. It is tempting to describe Steidl's quadratone printing as "sumptuous", which it certainly is, but more to the point, the printing serves the photographs: Steidl's craft, in that sense, is totally transparent. The images have a vitality that suggests that they were made in the darkroom, somehow using ink instead of silver.
The work itself remains timeless. It is based on Koudelka's original maquette, adding more than 30 photographs that were not in the 1975 edition, and every one of them is worthy of its place in the new book. If you have never seen Josef Koudelka's work before, there is no better pace to start than with "Gypsies". If you are familiar with the 1975 edition, this one will amaze you. Rarely has an artist been so well-served by his printer and publisher.
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Josef Koudelka's 'Gypsies is a masterpiece. The revised edition which has just been released is well worth the price. There is no other photographic book like it and I do not believe there will ever be one. Its raw approach with its grainy effects is unique and it has a bite to it that no other photographic book has. This was Josef's first book and he went on to produce many other books after this one. His committment to his subjects and the trust that they gave him is apparent in many of the intimate rectangles of stillness in this revised edition. And it is a sad history of a past era which has not changed to this day.

Highly recommended.
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Couldn't agree more with Mr.Mickleburgh's delightful review. Koudelka's original release of his 'Gypsies' book has long been one of my favourites from my photobook collection. This second edition is even better. An utter triumph in the combined arts of photography and printing. The use of matte paper, especially, was a great decision. Aperture are, deservedly, one of the world's great publishing companies. And Herr Steidl. Wow, what a brilliant man. Now ... if only they'd all get together and give us a second edition of 'Exiles'!
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Josef Koudelka is an absolute master of black and white photography. The print style in this book is different than in his Exiles book which I also own. The blacks are crushed and the paper is matte. Not a bad different, just different. This book highlights the many years he spent with the Roma people and was shot with an SLR and wide angle lens. So much different in terms of FOV than his normal work but I love it and.....who am I to give a book review. All I'll say is that if you are a fan of Koudelka, film photography, documentary or travel photography then this is a must have book for your collection.
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The first edition of this book is deservedly considered one of the most outstanding photographic achievements of the 20th century and this reprint is well worth having even if you have the original. It has additional photos and the quality of the reproductions is better. The new essay that accompanies it provides insights into the history and current status of the Gypsies (now called Roma). I only wish that the new edition was longer, as Koudelka made some wonderful other photos in this series that are not included in either edition but which were exhibited at his first show of this work at the Carleton Gallery in New York in the 1970s and which were published in Popular Photography at that time.
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I have an original copy of Gypsies. The images in this copy are superior mainly because of the stock of paper: matte versus glossy. If you are a Koudelka fan snap this up now before it goes out of print. This book is actually printed by Steidl.
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There are only two great photographers that I follow that have seriously made great images of gypsies, Koudelka and Tamas Revesz a Hungarian who has made wonderful images also. In Koudelka's case this new reprint of the earlier book is spectacular. The printing, on high grade matte paper is luscious. I would have preferred that they had not bled an image over two pages but for the content and the printing it's OK. In the case of Revesz who has many books in and out of print, I cannot find his Gypsy prints in book form. Alas, when I want to see them I must Google his website. If you love those wonderfulp people and their expressive faces in photographic images you must see both.....
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