France by Josef Koudelka (1973)

The photograph titled “France” was captured by the artist Josef Koudelka in the year 1973. The image depicts a pastoral scene with four individuals and a horse in a grassy, uneven terrain. In the foreground, there is a woman lying on her stomach in the grass, reaching out with one arm possibly to pick something up, while the other arm supports her upper body. She is wearing what appears to be a polka-dotted dress or blouse with a lighter-colored skirt or pants.

Behind the woman, two men stand, one apparently tossing a ball into the air, and the other watching the ball with an attentive gaze. The man throwing the ball is dressed in a dark jacket and trousers, and has a casual stance with one leg bent and the other slightly forward. The other man, engaging with the thrower, is similarly casually dressed. Both men wear patterned shirts, suggesting the era when patterns were fashionable.

Further back, a horse stands to the right of the frame, separated from the human activity by a distinct diagonal incline in the landscape. The horse is grazing or standing idly, adding to the serene, rustic quality of the scene.

The composition of the photograph is dynamic, with the play of the sloped land creating a sense of movement, and contrasts between the leisurely activities of the people and the calm presence of the horse. It’s a black-and-white image, emphasizing textures, light and shadow, rather than color. The photograph captures a candid moment that feels both ordinary and intriguing, with a narrative open to the interpretation of the viewer.

Other Photographs from Josef Koudelka

Scroll to Top