Koudelka’s and Eskilden’s
Koudelka’s work is closer to the people he has captured the Gypsies in there every day lives. The images on the first page of the book show a man standing or leaning against a wall looking ominous as if to say what are you doing here or what do you want. Even today we still have an impression of gipsies being untrustworthy, and a little bit frighting and this image give that impression. I would imagine that is why he chose the model for the first page. He blocks you as if to say what do you want but at the same time generates your curiosity to want to see more. Moving on through the images you get a feeling of normality and familiarity as you get comfortable with the people and their way of life. Koudelka as captured the people as if they were family and friends, and of course they were friends with him as he lived with them for some years. He has achieved a closes ness that only someone very close could have captured this is one of the reasons that the images are so powerful in resonating the feel and spirit of the people. In almost every Image he has got up close and personal, but not only that he as captured images of relaxed people comfortable in having their picture taken with him, allowing the spirit of the people to come through. The composition of the images is something else we could look at. The composition of the boy sitting on the table seems a little strange, and I wonder why he has shot it from such an angel. There is quite a bit of debate about the image, how he as left a lot of negative space to make the boy look smaller and more alone, or isolated but it seems to me people are reading into the image things that are not there. This is what I think, I don’t think he has done it this way for any other reason than that he was taking a picture of the boy for the boy with his nice clothes on and possibly as a gift for the boy. He as put him up on the chair to capture the boy full frame shoes as well. It was probably the boys birthday or something, and that is why not a lot of thought has gone into its composition. Or if you believe what has been written that a lot of thought has gone into its composition the choice is yours to make. The images of the three musicians is a powerful shot, and again one of the reasons is that he has got up close and personal. He has got them to walk towards the camera in the opposite direction than the rest of the crowd or looking and manage to capture them in a triangle format giving compositional stability to the image. We find this triangle format or technique in a lot of the images. This is something he will have had in his mind when taking the images. I don’t think it is a conscious thought it is something that comes with practice when looking through the viewfinder you see the image coming together in a split second you click and there it is the triangle. As far as a documentary is concerned, I think Koudelka has done an excellent job in the respect that the images tell the story of how the Gypsies live. They are not as we thought or imagined them to be, but more like us than we would have first thought going by the stereotype impression that would have been about at the time. Just ordinary people with there own customs and traditions that every individual culture has.
Eskildsen’s Work seems more modern as of course, it is, the use of colour and a less involved approach, although she says she lived with the Gypsies, I don’t think it was on the same level as Koudelka. I would like to say this comes across in the Images, but that would be me or my interpretation with the knowledge of how both photographers got their shots. That being said with the information I have it does appear that Eskildsen used a more standoff approach, not that there is anything wrong it just two different styles. Koudelka style is for want of a better expression old style while Eskildsen is more modern looking, cinematic in style and has a hint of Gregory Crewdson’s work. See pictures below three are Crewdson, and three are Eskildsen.
Eskildsen’s work as far as the gipsies go is not as raw as Koudelka’s work it could be that it is just that the work is done in black and white and has removed the distraction the main difference is the closeness as opposed to the outside looking in approach of Eskelsen’s work.
If you take the image below and compare it with Koudelka’s image below you can see that Koudela as got closer to the people in the sense he knows his subject better the people are a lot more relaxed with him welcoming him into there homes on a regular basis.
In conclusion, if we can reasonably compear these two styles, Koudelka, has done a better job Documentary speaking he has shown the lives of the people uncompromisingly. Having said that I think Eskildsen’s work is excellent on two levels it is a documentary story in its own right but also has a style that is appealing on an arty level if I can use that terminology and as mentioned above I have noticed a resemblance to Crewdson’s work that sells for thousands.