SUMMARY 2011/04

The opening article in vol. 2011/4 of Fotóművészet is Sándor Bacskai’s interview with World Press Photo and International Photography Awards laureate József L. Szentpéteri biologist and press photographer – known to the foreign world as Joe Petersburger. “Besides the beauties of nature I believe to be more and more important the necessity of presenting man-made devastation. These photos are less aesthetic and delightful, yet they are necessary to open people’s eyes to how rapidly we are destroying our own environment and the living space of many millions of other living creatures.”

Rita Somosi is the author of the article Scientific illusions. The relationship between fictive and real portrayal of nature on Benedek Bognár’s photos. “Nature-scientific showrooms produce the illusion of nearness and cognition that goes on increasing the distance between real nature and the fictive one. Stuffed animals get near to man driven by the desire of cognition, through their becoming estranged from their own being. Benedek Bognár’s photos – Brave new world – mirror that contradictory situation, and they demonstrate all of its absurdity through the external viewpoint.”

In The real nature of artificial nature János Dozvald comments on Éva Szombat’s photos: “The philosophy of the photo series – Artificial nature – is very simple, appropriate to Éva Szombat’s age of twenty-four: Nature is lacking in the environment of townsman, we console ourselves by substitutes. It is not good, but let’s stop moaning about it, instead let’s be sorrow for it cheerfully. She herself, who names herself “towns-kid”, and in the natural environment she loves green hills in the afternoon light (which nowadays she seldom gets to), she has for long figured herself out , it would be thrilling to photograph a poster nostalgia for forest or waterfall in a town apartment.”

In It is a bleak place, and those times are gone Emese Kürti deals with Tamás Féner: “His latest pictures should be interpreted from double perspective: partly from the reductionist attitude of the artist estranged from society, partly from the critical view points of photographic traditions. Most of them are still life-like landscapes with diagonal sketching referring to image editing of modernism and with dynamical solutions avoiding frontality; or rather a still life that has to do figuratively with human activity, as any object made and aband-oned by man, does have.”

In Before and after death Zsófia Somogyi analyses Susan Silas’s photo series. “Her projects can be arranged round the key notions like decay, evanescence, death and change – let it be self-portrait, nude figures, portraits, and landscapes. She deals in detail with things existing before and after death respectively, on physical, spiritual, mental, symbolical level. All of her works materialize an unusual glance or one something of a taboo. An important specific characteristic of her works is that she is personally concerned in nearly all of them. She involves herself in the game, and she answers the questions through herself, involving her own being, as well.

Title of Part 4 of Gábor Pfisztner’s series about Contemporary photography is Photography … and what’s then? “The most important characteristic of the present »ontological« status of photography is that it stopped functioning as »window« (Flusser), and it has become medium (as Belting uses the term). From historical point of view it is questionable whether the photograph has lost this kind of its character because of the more spectacular, more varied (and none the less manipulative) pictures of television, or because it wanted exactly to keep aloof from this competition, and to retreat to the airconditioned intimate safety of showrooms and photo albums. At the same time, one cannot disregard that photo artists have never considered the photograph as simple duplication of reality.”

Beatrix Cs. Lengyel reports on the travelling exhibition “From Robert Capa’s Master series of the Hungarian National Museum”. “The Hungarian National Museum fulfilled the task with success: we have made visitors acquainted with Robert Capa’s photos in eleven towns in Hungary. We have organised exhibitions much liked by the audience, which on almost all exhibition sites were visited by a great number of visitors greater than the average, and all that has been achieved by moving carefully our works of art and by meeting our liabilities of protection of works of art.”

In Part 3 of the series of papers Hungarian out. Hungarian photographers abroad, Károly Kincses deals with people fleeing in 1956 Hungary, quoting Béla Kálmán’s memories in detail: “I was mostly staying at home during the revolution, but once my valet (his name was Hajdú) called me telling that he had looted a car, and he asked if I were willing to come down and to go to the Parliament to photograph the new government. Well, it was a good question in a two-week historical time without photographing! He said, he had (the necessary) documents from the Russians and from the new government, and let’s go, it would be good photographs in the shop-window of Fényszöv. It would never have entered my mind that after a couple of weeks Life Magazine would take over the photos.”

Anne Kotzan recalls August Sander’s journey in 1927 in Sardinia: “Sander, whose choice of subject was close to that of a romantic traveller in the 19th century, for all that used the objective image language of the 20th century. He photographed people not as extras, yet despite the aesthetic forming, he did not strive for romantic effects and compositions. Although he left out the criteria of progress and modern civilian life, men and women dressed in town clothes can hardly be seen, there is no railway or electrical equipment, but there are ox-carts and old-fashioned barrows. He combined past with present on the photo.”

Marija Tonković interviewed Péter Langenthal head of the photo archive of the Museum of Fine Arts (Muzej za umjetnost i obrt – MUO) in Zagreb. “We are very proud that the photo had been dealt with as separate work of art earlier with us than in some other more developed centres. The photo department set up in 1940 in the New-Yorker Museum of Contemporary Art is worldwide considered to be the beginning of acceptance of the photograph by museums, to be a separate work of art. In our museum, however, the photo archive became a separate department in 1939, on the 100th anniversary of inventing the photographing.”

In Not then and not there …Ilona Balog Stemler makes public new information about Károly Escher’s well-known photographs. “The photo Miner with his sick child is the property of the Hungarian Museum of Photography. In »Foto Escher« published in 1966, in selecting the photos of which the photographer himself took part, this is picture no. 10 made in 1934. It has the same date on page 135 in the list of pictures exhibited at the exhibition, in the volume The Magic of Photograph The man with child having a bandage on his head, can, however, be seen on the Mafirt photo taken of refuges forced to go from villages in Csallóköz (Slovakia) to Rajka. The picture was made around 20th November, 1946.”

Author of the article “Rolf and Kurta. Photographers of the state security organs at demonstrations in 1989 is Rolf Müller. “One can rely just on guesses what was the reason for secretly taking photos of the faces of those participating at the demonstrations and of their boards in a freer political atmosphere in 1989. It is quite possible that the driving force of eager photographing was the still existing old reflexes, the functioning mechanism operated by the still existing inertia. Anyway the visual sources passed on – even if they represent only fractures of the image world of the state security viewpoint in the year of the political changeover – enable us to get to know what the »eyes« of state security organs saw.”

Zoltán Fejér’s book written in German and English about the history of Hungarian cameras (designing-manufacturing) was published ten years ago. Now in Further Hungarian devices the author presents a selection of his notes gathered over the past ten years to his manuscript of a new enlarged edition. Sections of the article are: frame technical camera of Szabad Szilárd; Hungarian 8-mm film adapter to Rolleiflex; Flash-synchronous momettes; Roll film reflex camera.

The subtitle of Part 3 of László Pusztai’s series Colour treatment processes, is Colour space – what and how. “Our aim during the whole image processing is to keep as much information from the original shot as possible. Therefore, such a large colour space should be chosen to be work space which all colours of our pictures fit in”. Further subjects of the article are: Setting-in the colour space on the camera; Proportion-keeping or relative colorimetric?; The case of bad soft proof: Tone-reproduction curve.

Sections of Part 3 of Attila Montvai’s series Mathematical background of “farsightedness” are: Light as environmental factor, or as applicable “means”; Light as scientific problem; The significance of light in the intellectual sphere; The role and characteristics of photographic lens in the digital era; Consequences that can be examined by means of geometrical lens; Optical errors generated by wave nature; Options in photography based on binary technology.

New albums on Péter Tímár’s Bookshelf: The poetry of space – Photo critical anthology; A. Balla (Balla András): The hermit; The town of photographers (Esztergom); Zoltán Vancsó: Pilgrims; Ferenc Markovics: Fixing show; Mary Warner Marien: The big book of photography (Cultural history of photography); Causes and Spirits: Photographs from Five Decades – William Carter.