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Apr 07, 2009

Josef Koudelka talks about his iconic images of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia and why they matter in a world still at war.

By FLYP Staff

On the night of Aug. 20, 1968, some 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops swept into Czechoslovakia, intent on overturning the democratic reforms initiated by the Czech government during the “Prague Summer.” As he watched the Soviet-led invasion roll into Prague, 30-year-old photographer Josef Koudelka picked up his camera and began shooting the events. The images he captured during the ensuing week became some of the most iconic photographs of the Cold War era.
In the decades that followed, Koudelka established himself as one of the world’s premier photographers. More than a dozen books of his images have been published, most notably 1975’s Gypsies and 1988’s Exiles, and he has won numerous international awards for his work.
In 1987, Koudelka became a French citizen, and four years later, returned to Czechoslovakia for the first time.
Today, he splits his time between France and Prague and works documenting the European landscape.


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