Koudelka: Shooting Holy Land

  • Israël, Germany
  • 2019
  • en
  • en
  • 72'

Josef Koudelka is a fiercely independent artist. Branded an exile, stateless for many years after the end of the Prague Spring, photography is for him a powerful act that shows both humanity and its unsettling strangeness. His images are imbued with bohemian freedom and a dull, inhospitable promise.
So when he was asked to go and photograph in Israel, the fear of being politically exploited, the fact of having to accept his designated young guide (to control him? he wondered)... mistrust almost won out. It was overcome by a mixture of rejection of "the wall" and attraction for this symbolic land. He simply insisted on paying for his own plane ticket, so as not to owe anything to anyone. What happened next, between him and his young guide Gilad Baram, is a truly romantic story. A friendship was born between the old photographer and the young filmmaker. Gilad Baram had the intelligence to turn these moments into a magnificent film, adopting the right distance and documenting the work of this demanding photographer.

Koudelka: Shooting Holy Land
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Synopsis

Josef Koudelka is a fiercely independent artist. Branded an exile, stateless for many years after the end of the Prague Spring, photography is for him a powerful act that shows both humanity and its unsettling strangeness. His images are imbued with bohemian freedom and a dull, inhospitable promise.
So when he was asked to go and photograph in Israel, the fear of being politically exploited, the fact of having to accept his designated young guide (to control him? he wondered)... mistrust almost won out. It was overcome by a mixture of rejection of "the wall" and attraction for this symbolic land. He simply insisted on paying for his own plane ticket, so as not to owe anything to anyone. What happened next, between him and his young guide Gilad Baram, is a truly romantic story. A friendship was born between the old photographer and the young filmmaker. Gilad Baram had the intelligence to turn these moments into a magnificent film, adopting the right distance and documenting the work of this demanding photographer.

What you will find in this film

The 120 film format used for panoramic shots • Koudelka's relationship with the landscape • The Israeli separation barrier • The symbolic traces of man • The landscape in black and white • Approaching a place, scouting for an angle

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Further exploration

Bibliography

Materiel used

Instagram

• GYPSIES, Author: Josef Koudelka, Aperture, 1975, Language: English,

• EXILES, Author: Josef Koudelka, Aperture, 1988, Language: English,

• CHAOS, Author: Josef Koudelka, Phaidon, 1999, Language: English,

• INVASION 68: PRAGUE, Author: Josef Koudelka, Aperture, 2008, Language: English,

• THE MAKING OF THE MEADOW (LA FABRIQUE DU PRÉ), Author: Josef Koudelka, Actes Sud, 2008, Language: French,

• WALL, Author: Josef Koudelka, Aperture, 2013, Language: English,

• NATIONALITY DOUBTFUL, Author: Josef Koudelka, Yale University Press, 2014, Language: English,

• Tomiyama Art Panorama 170

• Leica M

Josef Koudelka | Czech Photographer, Magnum Photos ... - A Britannica source offering an overview of Josef Koudelka's life and work.

Photographer Josef Koudelka Gives Us a Glimpse into 51 Years of His Work - An intriguing article from PrintMag exploring Koudelka's contributions to the world of photography.

Josef Koudelka • Photographer Profile - A dedicated profile page on the official Magnum Photos website for Josef Koudelka.

Josef Koudelka - une vie sacrifiée à la photographie (A Life Dedicated to Photography) - An article from Radio.cz discussing the life and career of Josef Koudelka. (In french)