André Kertész at James Hyman Gallery
With a career that spanned across seven decades, the photographs of André Kertész have been influential to 20th and 21st century photographers internationally. It has been recognised that much of Kertész’s work established the grounding for the practice of photojournalism exercised today. Born in Hungary, he lived and worked in New York for most of his life, and, unbeknown to many, he regularly travelled back to parts of Europe. Consequently, there is quite a selection of Kertész’s work that has never been seen or publicly exhibited before.
As a leading gallery in the UK that has a focus on vintage 19th and 20th century photography, James Hyman Gallery has collaborated with the Estate of André Kertész to put together a new series, exhibiting a selection of these known and unknown European photographs. To differentiate between the two in his display, James Hyman fills the first room of the gallery with the better known pieces such as Lovers, Budapest 1915, while keeping the previously unpublished photographs back in the second room to be slowly discovered.
The exhibition is successful in depicting the breadth and variety of Kertész’s work. There is a main focus of cityscapes, still life and capturing the ordinary everyday person in European locations including Paris, Budapest, Venice and London. Images such as Paris, 1963 are particularly poignant because the subject is simple and unassuming, while the overall composition is an artistic snapshot of a moment in time.
It is incredible to see the consistency of aesthetic quality displayed in Kertész’s distinct style, from his earliest original photographs such as Bocksay-ter, 1914, captured in Hungary with an old Goerz Tenax, right up to his most recent works such as Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, 1980. The use of a manual black and white camera allows Kertész to expose and accurately render contrasts made by natural light and shadow, creating stunningly attention-grabbing images. These photographs open a fascinating window for the audience to be able to get a view of European life during the last century. Every single image is individual and assured compositionally, providing a remarkable insight to scenes in Europe that caught Kertész’s perceptive eye.
André Kertész in Europe is on at James Hyman Gallery until 13th June 2015, for further information please visit here.