Photo: Margaret Watkins: Untitled, n.d. (detail) © Margaret Watkins / Collection of Joseph Mulholland, Glasgow

Month of Photography 2021 begins with 35 exhibitions – Selected photos from the displays

21 • 10 • 18Vera A Fehér

Organized by the Association of Hungarian Photographers, the Month of Photography offers events across the country again. Numerous photography exhibitions, which will open between 12 October and 30 November, have joined this year’s festival.

Along with smaller galleries, the festival features big-name institutions like the Hungarian Museum of Photography, the Hungarian National Museum, the Hungarian Natural History Museum, the Robert Capa Contemporary Photo Centre, the Szabó Ervin Metropolitan Library, and Art Market Budapest. In addition to the 21 galleries and institutions in Budapest, there will be plenty to see in the country as well, with Salföld, Pécs, Cegléd, Kecskemét and Debrecen all hosting events. Besides the traditional photo exhibitions, the Month of Photography also presents video art, sculpture and book illustrations, and you can even see the next generation at an exhibition of the Grammar School for Fine and Applied Arts’ photography students.

The festival kicks off on 12 October with an exhibition of the works of Margaret Watkins at Mai Manó House, a worthy sequel to the Weegee, Nobuyoshi Araki and Robert Doisneau oeuvre exhibitions of the previous Hungarian Months of Photography, organized by Mai Manó House and the Association of Hungarian Photographers. Black Light brings into relief the salient traits of the Canadian photographer’s art—her rebellious rejection of the traditions of her time, the articulation of eroticism and feminisim—with which Watkins laid the foundations for the new norms of public taste.

TOBE Gallery presents two events while the festival lasts, as do Artphoto Gallery and the PaperLab (in the bookstore of Mai Manó House), while Foton Gallery, which opened this year in Képíró Street, Budapest, holds three exhibition during the Month of Photography.

Along with the classical and experimental trends, the exhibitions of the Month of Photography will be marked by a diversity of genres and an exploration of the outer reaches of photography. So while the Hungarian Natural History Museum hosts the 29th Nature Photographer of the Year exhibition, which features 116 photos and is presented by naturArt – The Association of Hungarian Nature Photographers, the Hungarian National Museum is home to World Press Photo 2021, an internationally curated display of 151 images. Tickets for the latter event are also valid for Findings, the anniversary exhibition of the Szebeni Workshop, and for Digital Storytelling, a film screening and multimedia presentation, expanding the offer of genres during the five weeks of the show.


Photo: Ralph Pace: USA, Winner of the Environment category


Photo: László Hargitai: Floral Ornament, 2021

In a classical vein

City of Lions, Miklós Gulyás’s exhibition at Artphoto Gallery, presents the spaces of an empty, imaginary Budapest which humans have deserted. The artist is interested in the organic and artificial process of urban development, the lost aura of architectural spaces. Artphoto also has another set of photographs on view: Relics comprises the lesser-known pictures that sculptor György Szabó took between 1968 and 1972.

At Memories Burnt into the Retina in Mácsai István Gallery, Zsolt Bátori plays with real and imaginary memories, lives constructed from possible personal stories.

A 2018 series by photographer and author Alan Huck is on view in PaperLab Gallery until 24 October. The artist roamed the streets in the largest city of New Mexico for two months, and the resulting book, I Walk toward the Sun which is Always Going Down was published by MACK in 2019.


Photo: Miklós Gulyás: City of Lions (from the series), 2021 archival inkjet print, 48,3 × 33 cm


Photo: Zsolt Bátori: Untitled, from the series Memories Burnt into the Retina, 2017, giclée print, 40 × 50 cm


Photo: Alan Huck: I walk towards the sun which is always going down (from the series), 2019, MACK

In an experimental vein

Calligraphy, at Art9 Gallery, is the joint exhibition of Zoltán Molnár, Péter Herendi, Imre Drégely and Attila Haid, aka Kvartér group. The artists examine the relationship of visual and linguistic signs, the photographic equivalents of handwriting and calligraphy, and it is up to the viewer to decide which type of sign to make the starting point for the deciphering.

Layers of Reality, which shows highlights from Anna Püschel’s project on synaesthesia, opens in PaperLab Gallery on 27 October. The Dutch artist complements her experimental photo works with the scientific approaches of different disciplines, while she offers personal solutions to the debates about synaesthesia.

Foton Gallery hosts the debut exhibition of the new members that the Studio of Young Photographers (FFS) admitted this year. Organized like a traditional salon, featuring the sets of the young experimenting new members, the exhibition also offers additional depth to viewers who are ready to answer the titular questions: Who? With Whom? Where? Why? What did they do? From 15 November, FFS’s new artistic project, an exhibition entitled True or False? #Information Overload in the 21st Century can be seen at the same venue. Coordinated by Tamás Don, the project looks at the questions of authenticity, manipulation and objective truth in the global communication space—which includes photography. Foton Gallery’s third event for the festival is Interdisciplinary Visions, an exhibition of acrylic-tinted chemograms by Zoltán György Fejér, who is also known in the Hungarian photography scene as an expert on theory.

At Dokubrom – RANDOM Gallery, the Random group, who use photography and photo-based media in diverse ways, explore virtual and artificial spaces, natural and urban landscapes, the aesthetic of public spaces and organic sceneries, and the possibilities of transforming them.

Gaia, Márk Martinkó and Marcell Piti’s exhibition at Mymuseum, looks into the interaction between humans and their environment, the evolution of this relationship, using photo and video.

Viktor Váradi’s Processing is a photographic narrative full of surprises; the exhibition presents what both may or may not be the story of a family. The heterogeneous body of exhibits is arranged on the basis of unconventional principles at TOBE Gallery, with the words that outline the events forming an extended haiku, according to Miklós Gulyás. Tobe also presents the last event of the Month of Photography festival, Soulscapes, where Dora Kontha brings to life her sensitive inner sceneries with the means of instant photography.


Photo: Anna Püschel: Layers of Reality (from the series), 2017 The Eriskay Collection


Photo: Zoltán György Fejér: Artificial Brain, 2019/2021, photogram on colour Agfa paper, acrylic and tempera added, 24×30 cm


Photo: Marcell Piti: Fatherland No. 3, 2019, giclée print in wooden frame, 80×120 cm, Courtesy of MyMuseum Gallery


Photo: Viktor Váradi: Development – 36 family slides, 4’ 20”, 2018, archival pigment print, 60 × 40 cm

Outside Budapest

Pajta Galéria in Salföld celebrates its 30th anniversary with an exhibition that is open until next June. The renewed venue, which presents the contemporary photography collection of founder László Török, who passed away last year, continues to feature the works of artists who have been involved in the gallery's life since its inception.

Pedestament offers testaments of the personal memories of the creator, Zsolt Hamarits, in the Halász Rezső Gallery in Pécs. Trezor, also in Pécs, introduces Balázs Deim’s experimental works at Space.

In Cegléd, the Kossuth Community Centre’s Chamber Gallery presents a selection from Artist Portraits, a series by István Tóth, a student of Frigyes Haller, one of the last maestros of classical photography, who passed away five years ago.

The Borsos Villa in Debrecen bears witness to the fruitful collaboration of the Debrecen Photography Club with the Méliusz Juhász Péter Library with Visual Thoughts, ideas prompted by, and illustrations made for, well-known literary works.

The Way Things Stand, Zsolt Szamódy’s retrospective exhibition opens at the Hungarian Museum of Photography in Kecskemét on 20 October, and welcomes visitors until early January 2022. The display selects from an oeuvre of three decades, from the Tatabánya artist’s early landscapes and still lifes, through his recording of the decay of industrial relics, his photographic etudes on the Old Lake in Tata, to his images of seashores and his photographic reportage on exotic parts of the world.


Photo: László Török: Alteration I, 1980, gelatin silver print, 60 × 60 cm


Photo: Zsolt Hamarits: Pedestament No. 12., 2020, giclée print, 29,5 × 20,5 cm


Photo: István Tóth: In the Atelier (Béla Czóbel), 1972, gelatin silver print, 30 × 40 cm


Photo: Zsolt Olaf Szamódy: Trio, from the Coast series, 1991, gelatin silver print, 40 × 50 cm

There is an online catalogue where you can learn more about the exhibitions and events of the Month of Photography 2021.