Journeys – Koudelka and Eskilden

Koudelka and Eskilden’s projects made a real impact on me. I notice I have prejudices against the Roma, especially after having seen the beggar maffia at work in different cities in Europe, and am confronted with this when looking at Koudelka and Eskilden’s work. All these preconceived ideas are nowhere reflected in what I see and read. Both photographers are able to show tight knit communities, who live tough lives, but show a strong connection and care for each other. It makes me realize that I have to be willing to really dive in a concept and idea in order to get good quality work, and produce images that are in line with the respect that every human being should receive.

Eskilden and Koudelka have obviously spent a lot of time with their subjects and have been able to capture intimate moments, be inside people’s homes and show intimate parts of their lives. Eskilden works quite systematically and shows through the organization and categorization of communities and countries differences and similarities between communities, making the viewer look at the work from an ethnographic point of view, even though the images do trigger deep emotions. Koudelka on the other hand, does not compare one community with the other, but deeply engages with the every day lives of his subjects, bringing a deeper layer of emotions, diversity in images and establishing a stronger connection with its subjects.

The use of colour in Eskilden’s photographs accentuate the similarities between the communities and add to the colourful painting of people whose lives balance between their own community and country they live in, inside and outside, the warmth of their homes and harshness of their environment. Koudelka focuses on a more intimate point of view, his images show a great variety of subjects, but don’t give clues about the differences in communities he is in and their similarities of the countries they’re residing Koudelka’s compositions are exceptionally strong, emphasizing the strength and liveliness of the community he is photographing.

Thinking in terms of what is documentary and what not, I’d say that both have very strong documentary value, but that Eskilden’s work brings across a more overall impression of the Roma people and Koudelka lets its viewers enter the lives of the Roma. I don’t know which has more documentary value, but it is interesting to see the different effects the approaches of these photographers have on the end result and reading of the work.

Anon, (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017]. (2017). Conscientious | Review: The Roma Journeys by Joakim Eskildsen and Cia Rinne. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Here, S. (2017). Book Review: “Gypsies” by Josef Koudelka. [online] Eric Kim. Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017]. (2017). The Roma Journeys – Finland. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].


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