Known for his highly formalized, sensitive images of the vestiges of gypsy life, Czech photographer Josef Koudelka has been traveling the world since 1962, documenting their communities in Eastern Europe, England, Ireland, France, and Spain. Living as his subjects do, constantly on the move and defiantly independent, Koudelka has always refused magazine and commercial assignments, and has worked for years without a permanent darkroom. Focusing on the rituals of everyday life, on birth, marriage, and death, he has produced years of work, including Theater, Gypsies, Prague 1968 (Invasion), Exiles, and Chaos.
"I try to be a photographer. I cannot talk. I am not interested in talking. If I have anything to say, it may be found in my images. I am not interested in talking about things, explaining about the whys and the hows. I do not mind showing my images, but not so much my contact sheets. I mainly work from small test prints. I often look at them, sometimes for a long time. I pin them to the wall, I compare them to make up my mind, be sure of my choices. I let others tell me what they mean. [To Robert Delpire] My photographs, you know them. You have published them, you have exhibited them, then you can tell whether they mean something or not." -Josef Koudelka
What interests me and inspires me is his methodology that he employs, much like Annie Leibovitz in her early days of photographing for Rolling Stone, where many of her piers attributed her ability to 'blend in' and not be noticed, thus giving her the complete trust and confidence of her stubjects. Although admitted that Josef Koudelka project may have been otherwise motivated, his passion and results are something special.
This follows on a series of Documentary Photographers I'm looking at.