Pictures of 40 Years – Hungarian Press Photo Exhibition 1981–2021 – Catalogue

We would like to celebrate, and to pause for a moment to look back over four decades, using the opportunity to take stock. The Hungarian Press Photo Exhibition is 40 years old, and if I were to choose a single word to describe the history of press photography over the past four decades it would be the word ‘change’. Almost nothing is as it was in 1982 when the photographer Zoltan Szalay came up with a new concept and hung the previous year’s press photos on the wall, and we began to count the exhibitions. The press has changed, along with the political situation in Hungary; the technological and legal environments are different, and so are the manner and frequency with which images are published. The most important thing, however, has not altered: the commitment of photojournalists.” (Excerpt from the Introduction)

40 év fotói / Pictures of 40 Years

“The lives and troubles of ordinary people, politics, art, sport, the beauty of nature and wildlife, the horrors of the destruction of habitat, wars and revolution, famous and unknown faces, are all preserved throughout our lives in our memories, largely as reproductions of photographic images. Including some pictures that will be found in the history books. Many of these may even go down in the history of photography itself. Photographs are an indispensable part of our lives.

This volume contains photos that have been submitted to the Hungarian Press Photo Competition during its 40 years presence. Selecting from decade’s worth of material is no small responsibility. Digging out images that have long been resting in the archives. For the first ten years of the competition, there was no yearbook, and many colleagues cannot recall which of their pictures won them the prize. One event followed another, and dozens of ‘important people’ have by now been forgotten. Consequently, a totally comprehensive album or exhibition would be impossible. What I can provide is an overview that covers the period from the applications of 1981 to the applications of 2020 with a little bonus, a picture report on the year of 2021, which to me is important. Big names such as Tamás Urbán, Péter Korniss, Imre Benkő, Dávid Horváth are here today, as much for their classic images as for the main body of their daily work. However, if you feel pictures are missing from this volume, check them out in the year books or our website. From 1992 to 2021 the Pictures of the Year books were duly published containing plenty of very good reportage photography, and on the sajto-foto.hu website you can see not only the winner, but all the photos that were submitted and you can search by author and subject. This archive will also be constantly updated.

The Hungarian Press Photo Contest and Exhibition is organised and announced annually by the Photojournalist Section of the Association of Hungarian Journalists (MÚOSZ). For a period between the early 1990s and their dissolution in 2009, the exhibition was held jointly with the Society of Hungarian Photojournalists. We thank those who contribute year after year to our free, uncensored exhibitions and books with their work, money, and support. I am grateful to all my fellow photojournalists, regardless of their world view, for allowing us to organise the competition and the exhibition each year as an important professional event and a celebration of press photography.”
(András Bánkuti Balogh Rudolf Prize photojournalist, editor of the book)

The Selection of the Best Hungarian Press Photos of 40 Years exhibition is on view until May 29, 2022 at Capa Center.

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