There is a peculiar aura that surrounds certain antiquity remains; a sense of an indefinite existence, a sublime feeling, an ancient secret, an eternal fear; an interplay between immortality and decay. Often, those ancient monuments constitute more of an indication of the desire for eternal life and of the cruelty of Time, than of an evidence of human greatness. They pronounce an unavailing pursuit of continuity, a remote connection with an absent past, an ancient scream echoing through the centuries, a reminder of birth, life and death at the same time.
GREECE. Athens. Temple of Zeus. 1994. Copyright: Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
Some of the photographs of Josef Koudelka may be considered that they convey such a transcendental truth. Detached from the luxury and ornaments of modern culture, and through the solitary and austere forms of stone and land, they speak of the concealed forces behind the apparent; they speak the universal language of human agony.
ITALY. Lazio. Ostia Antica. 2002. Copyright: Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
“… As relics surviving the destruction of time, they have a force that must be present, that must be ‘represented’… I don’t take archaeological photos. I photograph the landscape, which appears or disappears depending on time, which is always there.”
(from Josef Koudelka's interview at the occasion of the opening of ‘Vestiges 1991-2012’ exhibition)