Josef Koudelka has produced a body of work of major importance. The essay that Jean-Pierre Montier has written surveys all of it, systematically confronting texts and photographs. The photographic philosophy is as coherent as it is powerful, exploring our relationship to totalitarianism, which it thereby portrays.
As Jean-Pierre Montier explains, 'the obvious plasticity of his images appears to suffice to explain their power of fascination. Without denying that aspect, I gradually came to perceive them in another light. While consulting his – colossal – archives, flipping through the pages of albums into which he had sorted thousands of photographs – many of which had never been published – printed only slightly larger than the contact sheet, there gradually appeared a new thread, a different organization of meaning. Patiently, stubbornly and relentlessly elaborated, it was somewhat mysterious, and completely perplexing.'