osef Koudelka started his professional life as an engineer in Czechoslovakia and switched to photography in his late 20s. He photographed the Soviet invasion of his country in 1968 and published his seminal book, “Gypsies,” in 1975 (a revised and enlarged edition was published by Aperture in 2011).
His new book, “Wall: Israeli and Palestinian Landscapes,” also published by Aperture, is a result of four years of photographing the Israeli-built wall that separates the Palestinian West Bank and Israel. The book came out of a group project, “This Place: Making Images, Breaking Images — Israel and the West Bank,” that was organized by the photographer Frédéric Brenner and included Mr. Koudelka and 11 other photographers.
Mr. Koudelka, 75, spoke with James Estrin in Paris last week. The conversation has been edited and will run in two parts on Lens, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Q.We met last time in Charlottesville, at Look3.
A.I try to do a minimum of interviews and usually I do an interview because I am having a show and I know I have to. Usually it lasts a long time. I don’t want to do it quickly, but I want to do it thoroughly.
Whatever I do, essentially, I do for myself. I didn’t do “Gypsies” to save Gypsies, because even I know I can’t save them. So everything I do for myself. If it helps something, I am very pleased. I go around the world and try to discover what interests me and what has something to do with me. For that reason, I never work for a magazine, I never did any fashion, I never made any publicity. For me, a project must interest me and have something to do with me.