Photographers

Andre Kertesz

Kertész sought the revelation of the elliptical view...the unexpected detail...the ephemeral moment - not the epic but the lyric truth.

Born in Budapest in 1894, the son of a bookseller, André Kertész taught himself how to use a camera and, as part of the Austro-Hungarian army in World War 1, had his first photos published. Even in 1914 the influential style for which he became known was distinctive and mature.

After the war, Kertész emigrated to Paris in 1925, and became acquainted with members of the Dada movement. One of them dubbed André Kertész "Brother Seeing Eye"; an allusion to a medieval monastery where all the monks were blind except one. His greatest journalistic collaboration was with French editor Lucien Vogel, who ran his photographs without explanatory prose. He created portraits of (among others) the painters Mondrian and Chagall, the writer Colette, and film-maker Sergei Eisenstein. In Paris he found critical and commercial success, and monographs claim that he was the first photographer in the world to ever have a one-man exhibition (1927). He was a mentor to many famous names; "We all owe something to Kertész", said Henri Cartier-Bresson.

In his lifetime, however, his then-unorthodox camera angles, which hindered prose descriptions of his works, prevented his work from gaining wider recognition. His use of symbolism also became unfashionable later in his life. Kertész is now recognized as one of the seminal figures of photojournalism.