A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
André Kertész (2 July 1894 – 28 September 1985), born Kertész Andor, was a Hungarian-born photographer known for his groundbreaking contributions to photographic composition and the photo essay. In the early years of his career, his then-unorthodox camera angles and style prevented his work from gaining wider recognition. Kertész never felt that he had gained the worldwide recognition he deserved. Today he is considered one of the seminal figures of photojournalism.
Expected by his family to work as a stockbroker, Kertész pursued photography on his own, and his early work was published primarily in magazines, a major market in those years. This continued until much later in his life, when Kertész stopped accepting commissions. He served briefly in World War I and moved to Paris in 1925 against the wishes of his family. In Paris, he worked for France’s first illustrated magazine called VU. Involved with many young immigrant artists and the Dada movement, he achieved critical and commercial success.
Due to German persecution of the Jews and the threat of World War II, Kertész decided to emigrate to the United States in 1936, where he had to rebuild his reputation through commissioned work. In the 1940s and 1950s, he stopped working for magazines and began to achieve greater international success.
Throughout most of his career, Kertész worked behind the scenes of photojournalism, rarely receiving more than a byline and a paycheck for his work. It was not until his 1946 exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago that he first received recognition as a major innovator in the field, and he remembered this show as one of his finest moments in America. Today, he is considered an example of an intimate artist who never commented on his subjects, but rather captured them in the “rhythm of the moment.”
Text adapted from Wikipedia.
Music:“The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I: XII. Prelude And Fugue in F Minor, BWV 857” by Johann Sebastian Bach. Performer unknown.
Circus, Budapest, 19 May 1920
The Fork, 1928