Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century – review

Another reason for visiting London this summer is the exhibition of Hungarian photography at the Royal Academy, here is a review of the exhibition from the Guardian/Observer by

Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century explores the legacy of innovative Hungarian photographers from Brassaï to Robert Capa – pioneers of photojournalism, fashion photography and surrealism. At the Royal Academy of Arts, London, until 2 October

“Eyewitness, the Royal Academy’s first foray into photography in almost a generation, turns out to have been worth the wait. The show is a revelation from beginning to end. It presents nothing less than the dark and convulsive story of Hungary during the 20th century as experienced by its citizens, and viewed by its artists, who happen to include five of the world’s greatest photographers – Brassaï, Capa, Kertész, Moholy-Nagy and Munkácsi.

Nobody could fail to be struck by that fact, in room after room of famous images. That they were all Hungarians may even come as news. Each was Jewish and each changed his name at some stage, either at home or in exile. Brassaï (born Gyula Halász), who was badly wounded fighting for Hungary in the first world war and nearly died of typhoid as a prisoner of the Romanians, left for Paris in 1924. His images of its streets and bars in rain and fog, and especially in the low glow of night, inflect our whole sense of that city.”.…more

Wedding, Budapest, 1965 by László Fejes, which, with its depiction of bullet holes in the wall, led to Fejes being banned from publishing his photographs. Photograph: Hungarian Museum of Photography

Martin Munkácsi, Four Boys at Lake Tanganyika, c 1930
Ernö Vadas, Procession, Budapest, 1934 Photograph: Hungarian Museum of Photography


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