Josef Koudelka

Josef Koudelka is one of the more important Czech photo journalists of the 20th Century. In August of 1968, he witnessed and photographed the Warsaw Pact invasion of Prague. For the next 7 days, Koudelka captured the protest, violence and historical impact in a series of dramatic photographs that shared the event with the world. For years, he went uncredited as the photographer of these images out of fear for his life. He even won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for the work anonymously.

Interestingly this would be the only conflict news event that Koudelka would ever cover.

In this video we’ll take a look at Koudelka’s career. His early work with the theater greatly influenced much of his later work including the Prague invasion, Gypsy studies and later landscape images.

Koudlka is a brilliant photographer. For all of his talented he went largely uncredited for most of his career.


  1. says

    If ever there was a story of a professional sacrificing himself for his work, this seems to be the guy. I had never heard of Koudelka before. But, thanks to you I think I have found a new photographer I revere.

    In regards to his photo of the watch, the one which he is most known for, I get a slightly different feel from the photograph. I felt anxiety more than anticipation. To me, it felt like it communicated running out of time. Anticipation communicates suspense of which the result may be either positive or negative. Since his homeland was being invaded I can only sense that the mood was tense; it was restless; it was dismal and the most important resource was running out – time.

    Thanks for that Ted