Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the Twentieth Century. Brassai, Capa, Kertesz, Moholy-Nagy, Munkacsi

Overview

At a crucial moment between two world wars, in a country destabilized by political turmoil, five men changed the face of photojournalism and art photography, and inspired the world. With their groundbreaking shots, Brassaï, Capa, Kertész, Moholy-Nagy, and Munkásci radically redefined photographic practice and theory, giving rise to iconic images and ushering in the modern era. In this stunning book, essays by leading authorities examine the ways in which the extraordinary activity of these five men established ...

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Overview

At a crucial moment between two world wars, in a country destabilized by political turmoil, five men changed the face of photojournalism and art photography, and inspired the world. With their groundbreaking shots, Brassaï, Capa, Kertész, Moholy-Nagy, and Munkásci radically redefined photographic practice and theory, giving rise to iconic images and ushering in the modern era. In this stunning book, essays by leading authorities examine the ways in which the extraordinary activity of these five men established Hungary as a crucible of art photography at the time, as well as the influence they have had on succeeding generations of photographers. Illustrated with their major works and a number by their contemporaries—in many cases using archival prints—the book is a landmark study of modern photography.

Praise for Eyewitness:

“With their keen eyes and dramatic compositions, Capa, Brassaї, André Kertész, László Moholy-Nagy, Martin Munkásci, and forty-five of their less-famous contemporaries put an indelible stamp on journalism, fashion, and war photography. Their rich black-and-white images are elegantly reproduced in this arresting book.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The names of these photographers are familiar and their iconic images even more so: American Soldier Landing on Omaha Beach, D-Day, Death of a Loyalist Militiaman. Yet the common Hungarian background of Brassaï (born Gyula Halász), Robert Capa (Endre Erno Friedmann), André Kertész (Kohn Andor Kertész Andor), László Moholy-Nagy, Martin Munkácsi (born Mermelstein Márton) has been lost to immigration and pseudonyms. Just as a photographer frames the subject through the viewfinder, this book frames Hungarian photography in a larger context, drawing new relationships between its five subjects, generating fresh insights into the impact of history on this particular art form. The three opening essays and the organization of the images into five chronological chapters capture key themes or tensions in the development of Hungarian photography. Poet and translator Szirtes writes: “The first tension is between realism and dream, the second between the urban and rural imagination, and the third between the international and provincial elements in Hungarian memory and ambition.” Given Hungary’s place in the world today, it is easy to forget that Austria-Hungary was once “the second-largest country in Europe, with the continent’s third-highest population” and how the resulting unrest affected its population and its artists. The breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the emigration of artists, the unique qualities of the Hungarian language, and the impact of war all play out in the photographs. “Historical vulnerability and linguistic isolation make for a threatened, unstable consciousness,” writes Szirtes. Art and history gaze at each other across the pages of this enlightening catalogue. (Sept.)
Library Journal
A showcase of Hungarian photography, this catalog focuses on the work of Brassaï, Robert Capa, André Kertész, László Moholy-Nagy, and Martin Munkácsi. In this companion to a major exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, Baki (director, Hungarian Museum of Photography, Kecskemét), Colin Ford (founding director, National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford, UK), and Hungarian poet George Szirtes document the enormous contributions of these 20th-century artists to modern photography. All five left their homeland for other European destinations and the United States before World War II, and indeed much can be learned about their Hungarian perspective in light of how their decision to leave the country changed not only their lives and work but also the history of photography. The book includes many iconic photographs (Capa's Death of a Loyalist Soldier, Kertész's Satiric Dancer; Munkácsi's Four Boys at Lake Tanganyika) as well as numerous previously unpublished images. Each of the three authors has provided an essay, and the book features 50 artist biographies and an exhaustive index. VERDICT Similar titles like Michel Frizot and Annie-Laure Wanaverbecq's Kertész focus on individual photographers, but this book is the first to compare the members of this group as modern artists and Hungarians. Recommended for readers interested in modern photography.—Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ., PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781905711765
  • Publisher: Royal Academy of Arts
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Péter Baki is director of the Hungarian Museum of Photography, Kecskemét. Colin Ford was the founding director of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford, England (now the National Media Museum). George Szirtes is a Hungarian poet and translator.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 16, 2011

    Terrific!

    Nagyon jol csinalt (Very well done.)

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