Event calendar
2019. April
Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives - Budapest
Address: 1075, Budapest Dohány utca 2.
Phone number: (1) 343-6756
Opening hours: 01.11-28.02.: Sun-Thu 10-16, Fri 10-14
01.03-31.10.:Sun-Thu 10-18, Fri 10-16.30
The exhibition has closed for visitors.
2011.05.26. - 2011.07.26.
temporary exhibition
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Museum tickets, service costs:
Ticket for adults
2000 HUF
Ticket for students
850 HUF
Ticket for pensioners
850 HUF
2400 HUF
/ capita
500 HUF
Imre Kinszki, descendant of a middle-class Jewish family, was a key figure and organizer of amateur photography in Hungary between the World Wars. Because he was not able to continue his university studies as a result of the numerus clausus, the Jewish educational quota, he had to take a post as a correspondent and filing clerk at the Hungarian Union of Manufacturers. He worked there until he was drafted for labor service in 1943.

In addition to natural sciences and philosophy, he began to focus his interest on photography in the mid 1920s. Kinszki - who began by photographing his children, family and immediate surroundings of Zugló (Budapest XIV. District) - was first mentioned in professional literature in 1931, upon becoming a member of the Hungarian National Alliance of Amateur Photographers (MAOSZ), established at the turn of the century. Three years later in his essay "Shadows of the Past" published in Fotóművészeti Hírek, in contrast to the values represented by the Alliance, he advocated in favor of "new photography," which led to his secession from MAOSZ, along with a number of his fellow photographers.

In 1937, together with Ernő Vadas and Gusztáv Seiden, he was a founding member of the Modern Hungarian Photographers Group. Later, he became one of the organizers of the successful centennial Daguerre exhibition in Vigadó. By this time, his writings and photographs were frequently featured in Hungarian and international papers. While his articles on photographic techniques and nature photography were published in Fotóművészeti Hírek, Fotószemle and Fotóélet, he was also working for Búvár and Vasárnapi Újság on a regular basis. His work was sought after by a number of international magazines, including American Photography and National Geographic. He also designed a camera (referred to as KINSECTA) in an effort to perfect the technique of close-up photography.

This was the golden age of the printed press, which, in the 1920s and 30s, was undergoing a transformation under the influence of motion pictures.

Kinszki, who was fluent in four languages, regularly kept up with the international press and was familiar with the works of international photographers. His perspective was influenced by current innovations and trends in of photographic styles and technologies.

While, in Hungary, pictorialism - which sought to achieve a painterly effect - was still being used in the early 30s, as of the mid 20s, a new "Hungarian Style" - which was supported by a renewed interest in ethnography and was not exactly free of nationalist ideology - became highly popular, with representatives such as Rudolf Balogh, Ernő Vadas and IvánVydarény. At the same time, the political changes that ensued after World War I reinforced socio-photography, which ascribed social responsibility to photography. Representatives of the trend (Kata Kálmán, Ferenc Haár, Lajos Lengyel and many other photographers), which in part was linked to the Kassák Munka (Work) Circle, were significantly influenced by László Moholy-Nagy and German Bauhaus photography. Albert Renger-Patzsch, who was among the promoters of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) - a mode of perception unfolding in Germany in the 1920s -, was also a defining figure of influence in Hungarian photography.

Kinszki was interested more in the new formal possibilities of modernism - derived partly from technical innovations - than in its agenda to represent reality with a transforming social vision. These guided his experiments with form, patterns, light and shadow - his photographs of objects, his street shots and scenes of daily life, his "bird's-eye view" compositions, which, from time to time, also attested to the threatening social and political changes of everyday life. As of the end of 1930, Kinszki was in continuous correspondence regarding the emigration request of his family. His last article was published in Vasárnapi Újság in January 1944. He was last seen a year later in a labor service unit on a death march to Sachsenhausen.

The exhibition held in celebration of the 110th anniversary of Kinszki's birth introduces not only the photographer and his oeuvre, cut short by the holocaust, but, through the documents of his life, a man of intellect, who sought - and then was gradually deprived of finding - refuge in intellectual work.