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exiles

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Cover of Joseph Koudelka's Exiles

Introduction

I’ve had Josef Koudelka’s Exiles in my possession for almost a month. And even after that time, after dozens of viewings, I’m struggling to find what would be the adequate words, much less the organization of them, to “review” it. In my short time collecting photobooks, I found this to be, simply put, perfection. Exiles commands respect.

As much as I dislike putting the cart before the horse, so to speak, I’m well aware I just did with that introduction. But I did it with good reason. Exiles (Aperture, 2014), now in its third and final edition, is one of the most highly praised photo books that I’ve shopped for. Previous editions, with the first being published in 1988, fetch hundreds of dollars for decent copies. This edition, with ten more images than previous ones goes for close to $50 USD on Amazon, and that is my budget ceiling for books. So I bought Exiles with confidence. I had seen just a small sample of images and I brutishly expected to be impressed, considering the book’s pedigree and price. I didn’t expect to be absolutely awed. Needless to say, I was. And still am.