Karel Cudlín was born in the family of a doctor and an office worker in the Prague district of Žižkov. After graduating from secondary school, in 1979, he attended a school specialized in social work and law. He then attended the Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), graduating in 1987, where many years later, in 2016, he was made a docent. He also works with publishers, television, and film in the Czech Republic and abroad. From 1997 to 2003, he was one of President Václav Havel’s official photographers. His takes mostly documentary photographs.
In the Czech Press Photo competition he has already received sixteen prizes. In 2008, he was awarded the annual prize of Revolver Revue, a periodical he has been working with for more than a quarter of a century. He was an editor at Mladý svět, Lidové noviny, Respekt, and the Czech News Agency (ČTA). He works in series, for example, about the withdrawal of the Soviet Army from Czechoslovakia in mid-1991, Communist ceremonies and celebrations, events in the Lucerna building in Prague, the Roma, refugees, Ukraine, Israel, and the National Theatre in Prague (this last series was published as a book in 2005). He has published two books with Torst (2001 and 2016).