Caught on camera: 20th-century Hungarian photography

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The Independent Culture

Born from Hungary’s tumultuous start to the twentieth century, The Royal Academy of Arts is exhibiting the work of a generation of artists who have profoundly influenced the course of modern photography.

The works of Brassaï, Robert Capa, André Kertész, László Moholy-Nagy and Martin Munkácsi are world- renowned for the important changes they brought about in photojournalism, documentary, art and fashion photography.

Chased out of their homeland by political upheaval and Nazism, they took Hungary’s rich photographic tradition with them.

This exhibition of 200 photographs dating from 1914 to 1989, follows their paths through Germany, France and the USA; the exhibition will explore how they were moulded and inspired by Europe producing art with their own distinct approaches towards the key aspects of modern photography.

Capa is often called the ‘greatest war photographer’ having documented the Spanish Civil War, the ‘D’-Day landings and other events of the Second World War.

The self-taught Kertész’s fresh vision paved the way for a subjective, humanist approach to photography.

Painter and designer as well as a photographer, László Moholy-Nagy became an instructor at the Bauhaus in 1922. He was a pioneer of photograms, photomontage and visual theory.

Martin Munkácsi revolutionised fashion photography, liberating it from the studio by taking photographs of models and celebrities outdoors. He invested his photographs with a dynamism and vitality that were to become his hallmark.

The exhibition will also celebrate the diversity of the photographic milieu of those that remained in Hungary.

These key works by over forty photographers will show how major changes in modern photography have been interpreted through a particularly Hungarian sensibility.

Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century, Royal Academy of Arts, 30 June -2 October.