I suggested the other day that Brassaï was the most famous Hungarian fine art photographer. I could be wrong about that; he’s actually one of three very famous Hungarian photographers I know of, the other two being André Kertész and Robert Capa. Capa was more of a photo-journalist than a fine art photographer so maybe the battle is between Brassaï and Kertész for the best Hungarian fine art photographer. In fact it doesn’t matter, I like them both and Brassaï actually studied under Kertész for a time in Paris so there is a lot of similarity between the two.
We were fortunate that there is an extensive Kertész retrospective currently on display at the Hungarian National Museum, just a few blocks from the apartment where we are staying here in Budapest. I’m not sure I’ve seen any of Kertész’s work outside of books before so the exhibition was a real treat for me. One thing I learned was how much adding a small human element or the suggestion of a human presence to an otherwise abstract or structurally formal scene really makes a composition come alive. That was a timely lesson for me as my intent on this trip was to do more with human subjects; of course without denying my continued interest in scenes with strong geometric components. Purposely combining the two themes had not really come to mind before, but what a perfect idea.