This summer, the Royal Academy of Arts will stage an exhibition dedicated to the birth of modern photography, featuring the work of BrassaÃ¯, Robert Capa, AndrÃ© KertÃ©sz, LÃ¡szlÃ³ Moholy- Nagy and Martin MunkÃ¡csi.
Each left their homeland Hungary to make their names in Europe and the USA, profoundly influencing the course of modern photography. Many other talented photographers who remained in Hungary, such as Rudolf Balogh and KÃ¡roly Escher, will also be represented in the exhibition. Over 200 photographs from 1914 to 1989 will show how these world renowned photographers were at the forefront of stylistic developments and reveal their achievements in the context of the rich photographic tradition of Hungary.
BrassaÃ¯, Capa, KertÃ©sz, Moholy-Nagy and MunkÃ¡csi are each known for the important changes they brought about in photojournalism, documentary, art and fashion photography. By following their paths through Germany, France and the USA, the exhibition will explore their distinct approaches, signalling key aspects of modern photography.
AndrÃ© KertÃ©sz (1894 â€“ 1985) showed an intuitive talent for photography which blossomed when he moved to Paris in 1925. Using a hand-held camera, he captured lyrical impressions of the ephemeral moments of everyday urban life. Proud of being self-taught, KertÃ©sz considered himself an â€˜eternal amateurâ€™ whose vision remained fresh; his highly personal style paved the way for a subjective, humanist approach to photography.
A painter and designer as well as a photographer, LÃ¡szlÃ³ Moholy-Nagy (1895 â€“ 1946) became an instructor at the Bauhaus in 1922. He was a pioneer of photograms, photomontage and visual theory, using unconventional perspectives and bold tonal contrasts to manifest his radical approach. His camera-less images and experimental techniques reflect on the centrality of light to the medium.
Martin MunkÃ¡csi (1896 â€“ 1963) was a highly successful photographer first in Budapest, then Berlin, covering everything from Greta Garbo to the Day of Potsdam. He moved to the US in 1934, securing a lucrative position with Harperâ€™s Bazaar, revolutionising fashion photography by liberating it from the studio. Taking photographs of models and celebrities outdoors, he invested his photographs with a dynamism and vitality that became his hallmark.The image of modern Paris was defined by BrassaÃ¯ (1899 â€“ 1984). Introduced to photography by KertÃ©sz, who was then at the heart of an energetic Ã©migrÃ© community of artists, BrassaÃ¯ is known for his classic portraits of Picasso. His stunning photographs of sights, streets and people bring vividly to life the nocturnal characters and potent atmosphere of the city at night.
Robert Capa (1913 â€“ 1954) left Hungary aged seventeen, first for Berlin where he took up photography, then on to Paris. He is often called the â€˜greatest war photographerâ€™ documenting the Spanish Civil War, the D-Day landings and other events of World War II. In 1947, he co- founded Magnum Photos with Henri Cartier-Bresson and George Rodger.
The exhibition will also celebrate the diversity of the photographic milieu in Hungary, from the early 20th century professional and club photography of Rudolf Balogh, KÃ¡roly Escher and JÃ³zsef PÃ©csi, to the more recent documentary and art photography of PÃ©ter Korniss and GÃ¡bor Kerekes. Key works by over forty photographers will show how major changes in modern photography have been interpreted through a particularly Hungarian sensibility.
Varied subject matter will include â€˜Magyar styleâ€™ rural images; urbanite â€˜New Objectivityâ€™ photography in Budapest and Berlin; vivacious fashion photographs; powerful photojournalism of war; and emotive social documentary in post-war Hungary. Highlights include images from BrassaÃ¯â€™s Paris by Night series, and such iconic photographs as Capaâ€™s Death of a Loyalist Militiaman, 1936; MunkÃ¡csiâ€™s Four Boys at Lake Tanganyika, c. 1930 and KertÃ©szâ€™s Satiric Dancer, 1926.
The Royal Academy will publish a 248-page catalogue to accompany the exhibition. The book includes essays by Colin Ford and PÃ©ter Baki exploring the biographies and practice of the photographers in the context of contemporary Hungarian history, and a piece by the Hungarian poet George Szirtes considering the significance of nationality to their work.
Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century BrassaÃ¯, Capa, KertÃ©sz, Moholy-Nagy, MunkÃ¡csi The Sackler Wing of Galleries 30 June â€“ 2 October 2011
Â£9 full price; Â£8 registered disabled and 60 + years; Â£7 NUS / ISIC cardholders; Â£4 12â€“18 years and Income Support; Â£3 8â€“11 years; 7 and under free. RA Friends go free.
Tickets are available daily at the RA. Advance bookings: Telephone 0844 209 0051 or visit www.royalacademy.org.uk. Group bookings: Groups of 10+ are asked to book in advance. Telephone 020 7300 5995, fax 020 7300 5781 or email email@example.com