SUMMARY– 2019/3

Béla Albertini: Hungarian photography history series, August 1919 – June 1941 Part five

In the morning of Saturday, 30 October 1920, Count Gyula Andrássy opened the Third Photography Art Exhibition organised by the National Association of Hungarian Amateur Photographers in the glass hall of the Applied Arts Museum. This article by Béla Albertini studies the presentation of this event in the media. The event was interesting for a multitude of reasons. In part because it was the first national exhibition of its kind after the war and in part because it was opened by Gyula Andrássy himself. The goal of the author is none other than to subtly analyse the editorial principles and readership of various periodicals as well as their relationship with photography through this event.

Katalin Csillag: Szombathely – differently

Zsolt Bajzik – László Mayer – Miklós Melega: Szombathely – in focus
Three employees of the Archives of Vas County started a novel endeavour to present the history of Szombathely through the past developments of amateur photography in the city. This resulted in a very people-oriented volume that presents everyday life in just as many colours as historical events and contains more than 400 pictures. The volume discusses the figures and trends of amateur photography in detail as well as the resulting works of art that had a significant effect on the life of the city, highlighting the work of Zoltán Kiss and Géza Vizmathy. This book, published by the Archives of Vas County, operated by the Hungarian National Archives, provides a rich source for not only the photography history researches of Hungary but anyone interested in the history of the city.

Gábor Ébli: What is the secret? 

In its series on the position of contemporary photography in private collections, this month’s journal presents the Budapest-based Arcana Collection whose owners – a mid-career couple working in the media industry – wish to remain anonymous. Begun in 2005, and exhibited for the first time in 2019, the collection unites classic modernist, neo-avant-garde and current photographic works as well as contemporary paintings. Ranging from mimetic compositions to conceptual and discursive works, Arcana has recently come to include international art, too, for instance by Jana Zelibska and Eva Kotatková. 

Zsuzsa Farkas: Hungarian photography collectors - Remembering Leonóra Mészöly

Leonóra Mészöly was an important member of a community created on Flickr that was the subject of Zsuzsa Farkas’ articles in the previous issues. She also began the collection and publication of old photographs for family reasons as well, but her interest grew significantly over time, and she became a member of the group who inspired others as well. Her many thousands of photographs and similarly wide international social network helped her and many others in the group to gather more accurate data to go with the pictures. Zsuzsa Farkas introduces the Reader to the personal stories and thus the history of Hungary through certain photos selected from this collection.

Zoltán Fejér: Simultaneous photography and notetaking

The need for attaching written information to the shots taken has been present since the beginning of photography. This article by Zoltán Fejér begins with the presentation of a solution created by Kodak 105 years ago and discusses the various solutions provided by the manufacturer between this time and the second half of the 20th century. The article presents not only the development of various solutions but provides insight into the methodology used by George Eastmann to run his company.

Balázs Gáspár: The Red May of 1919, album

The government of the Hungarian Soviet Republic organised a march on 1 May 1919 and published a 36-page photography album of this event a month later. How did they decorate the city? Who participated in the march? How did people dress and behave? What programmes were organised? So what is more important, how did photographers capture these events and what pictures were included in this publication, which served propaganda purposes? These are the questions discussed in this study by Balázs Gáspár.

Kornél Kocsány: Interview with Balázs Varga

Photos by Balázs Varga can be seen as a personal documentation of disillusionment. The photographer, who had a chance to present his work at the portfolio exhibition of the FotóFesztivál of Budapest, was interviewed by Kornél Kocsány on his carrier so far and his future expectations.

Éda Meggyesházi: The boy with a camera

Jacques-Henri Lartigue's colour photographs were shown in the Capa Center in Budapest this Summer. The exhibition was curated by Gabriella Csizek, where part of his expansive oeuvre was presented in chronological order, following his life of joy and happiness. Lartigue was born into a wealthy family, full of full time 'serious amateurs'. His father was also a keen photographer, who encouraged the young Lartigue to take up photography as well, hence he started his practice in his childhood. During his life, he was mostly known as a painter, only in 1963 he had the opportunity to show his black and white photographs at MOMA. Most of his colour pictures feathered his family, friends, his loved ones or lovers. As in his life his photography conveyed his love of life, nature, spring and the good life. He was interested in catching and preserving the moment; therefore, he created large albums from the very beginning of his photographic carrier. Although he was interested in the instantness of photography his work was thoughtfully planned, cropped, leaving behind an estate, which sees the 20's Century as a century of delight.

Gábor Pfisztner: Misplaced pictures, misplaced history?

Eszter Kiss’ monography on the uses of photography in Hungary between the 1960s and the fall of communism was published by the Wallstein Publishing House in Göttingen. The key question posed by the volume is how photographs were used in this period, or as the author put it: how photography was controlled in socialist Hungary. Eszter Kiss’ book is an especially important and novel approach to the application of photography in Hungary. Her work is based on an interdisciplinary methodology, which considers photography both as a product of the societal movements present in the period in question and as a shaper of these movements as well. The approach, concept, and subject of the book published in Germany is brought closer to Hungarian readers with the help of this article by Gábor Pfisztner.

Zsófia Somogyi: Tell me what you want to see - MOME MA Photography Diploma 2019

In June, nine students had to present and defend their theses at the MOME. Those interested might have already seen some of these works at a group and individual exhibitions. Zsófia Somogyi analyses the theses presented by the graduates from multiple angles. In her article, she discusses the different approaches seen, the concepts behind the works, and questions regarding their implementation.

Zsolt Szalai: The photographers of Győr in the 19th century

It is a lucky coincidence that we are able to report on not only a book presenting amateur photography in Szombathely but with the help of this article by Zsolt Szalai, an associate of the Flóris Rómer Museum, we can get some insight into the world of professional photographers working in Győr in the 19th century as well. The article enlists the photographers who worked in Győr between the first appearance of photography and the opening of the first permanent studio. The photography history of Győr is especially important since it had especially close ties with both Vienna and Pozsony. The study provides many details and uses a wide variety of contemporary documents to outline the world of photography in 19th century Győr as well as the goals and activity of the photographers working then and there either temporarily or permanently.