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Martin Munkácsi (1896 - 1963)

 
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PostPosted: Nov 29, 2010 11:33 am    Post subject: Martin Munkácsi (1896 - 1963) Reply with quote

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Without a doubt, Munkácsi, a Hungarian born in 1896, was one of the 20th century’s most important photographers. He shaped the face of modern photojournalism during the early 1920s while still in his home city of Budapest, and from 1928 to 1934 in Germany, bringing life to photography, which until then had been a static medium. As a sport photographer he is still unequalled.

He created countless cover images and an even greater number of eye-catching reportages and brilliant photo-essays for the legendary „Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung”, which back then already achieved a circulation of more than one million copies. And in mterms of formal composition his work remains exemplary to this very day. Henceforth, his pictures also appeared regularly in the reputed fashion magazine „Die Dame” as well as in other German and foreign magazines. Shortly prior to emigrating, on March 21, 1933 he covered the „Day of Potsdam”, that fateful moment when aging President Paul von Hindenburg handed over the country’s helm to Adolf Hitler. Then still under the aegis of Jewish editor-in-chief Kurt Korff, the „BIZ” („Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung“) published a special issue to mark the occasion.

Two months later the publishing house was aryanized, Martin Munkácsi left Germany and, like many other prominent editors and photographers went into emigration.

After his emigration, at the beginning of the 1930s he revolutionized fashion hotography in the United States, and his impact here was to be felt well after the end of his active career. He received his first job from Carmel Snow, editor-in-chief of „Harper’s Bazaar”: On Long Island he photographed swimwear – with the model running toward him along the beach. The resulting series of shots were to make photographic history. In the years that followed, Munkácsi produced a wealth of spectacular fashion photo sequences, and his work decisively influenced the image of the modern, successful, independent and dynamic Western urban woman.

His breath-taking dance photographs marked another highpoint in his oeuvre. The most famous of these featured Fred Astaire, who in December 1936 appeared on the front page of „Life” magazine.

With „Ladies’ Home Journal” he went on to sign the most lucrative contract of any photographer of his days: for a series entitled „How America Lives”. In the years 1940 through 1946 he shot 65 of the total of 78 sequences in the series – they portrayed everyday life in America across all strata of society during the war.

Henri Cartier-Bresson believes that one particular Munkácsi image launched him on his career as a photographer, it was the „the spark that set fire to the fireworks”: The photo in question shows three young black boys jumping in the cool waves on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, an incunabulum of photography. In many of his publications, Richard Avedon cites Munkácsi as having inspired him, and in the 1950s dedicated the famous shot of the young woman jumping over a puddle, with umbrella held aloft, to the Hungarian by way of homage. Avedon felt Munkácsi was his predecessor and wrote a moving obituary on him.

Munkácsi’s frequent emphasis on the body in staging his shots is echoed in the pictures of both Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts. As a professional photographer, Munkácsi was one of the outstanding champions not only of „New Kind of Seeing”, probably the most influential contribution photography made to cuttingedge art, but of Modernism per se. Nevertheless, his name was as good as forgotten. Only insiders considered him a legend.


http://www.deichtorhallen.de/418.html
http://cspv.hu/kult/k1009/martin_munkacsi/?full_article=1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Munk%C3%A1csi
http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munk%C3%A1csi_M%C3%A1rton
http://thesocietyofthespectacle.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/martin-munkacsi-1896-1963/
http://www.pbase.com/omoses/martin_munkacsi
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