Rudolf Balogh: Shepherd with his Dogs, Hortobagy, c. 1930. Silver gelatin print, 180 x 290 mm, Hungarian Museum of Photography ©Hungarian Museum of Photography

Exhibition: Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century

This exhibition is a revelation. We had no idea that Hungarian photographers were so instrumental in shaping the medium, particularly in the first half of the 20th Century. Of course it makes sense when you realize that Brassaï, that seminal photographer of Paris by Night was Hungarian, and so too was Robert Capa, whose war reportage of the Spanish Civil War has provided us with one of the most famous photographs ever taken (Death of a Loyalist Militiaman). One reason why these Hungarian innovators’ influence spread so wide is because so many, including Brassaï, Robert Capa, André Kertész, László Moholy-Nagy and Martin Munkácsi left Hungary to work and live in Europe and the USA – for reasons that the exhibition makes clear. One of the things the show does really well, quite apart from showing so many mesmerising, memorable and sometimes painful images, is to give you a concise but important, and pretty heartbreaking, history of Hungary in the 20th Century. We haven’t stopped thinking about the photographs in this exhibition since we saw them, and if you haven’t seen the show already, we really urge you to go. It’s unmissable.

Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century
Till 3 Oct 2011. Gallery open everyday, 10am - 6pm. Fridays open till 10pm
Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD
0844 209 0051
— Daisy
28th July 2011