Born 1938 in Boskovice, Czechoslovakia.
Lives in Paris, France, and Prague, Czech Republic.
After enrolling in the Prague Technical University in 1961 to become an aeronautical engineer, Josef Koudelka started photographing the city’s gypsies and theaters. He became a full-time photographer in 1967. The following year, Koudelka photographed the Soviet invasion of Prague, publishing his photographs under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer) for fear of reprisal to him and his family. In 1969, he was anonymously awarded the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Gold Medal for those photographs. He left Czechoslovakia for political asylum in 1970 and joined Magnum in 1971. In 1975, he brought out his first book Gypsies, and in 1988, Exiles. Since 1986, he has worked with a panoramic camera and issued a compilation of these photographs in his book Chaos in 1999. Koudelka has had more than a dozen books of his work published, including , most recently, La Fabrique d’Exils (2017). Significant exhibitions of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography (New York), the Hayward Gallery (London), the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art (Amsterdam), the Institute of Chicago, the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Palais de Tokyo and the Pompidou Centre (Paris).