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Tamas Dezso
Tamas Dezso
Tamas Dezso

Tamas Dezso

Country: Hungary
Birth: 1978

Tamas Dezso (b.1978) is a documentary fine art photographer working on long-term projects focusing on the margins of society in Hungary, Romania, and other parts of Eastern Europe. His work has been exhibited worldwide, with solo exhibitions in 2011 in Poland, Bangladesh, Budapest, New Mexico, and at the Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco, and recent exhibitions at the New York Photo Festival, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, and FOAM Photo Museum in Amsterdam. He was twice Hungarian Press Photo’s Photographer of the Year (2005 and 2006), and has received awards from organizations such as World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism, and PDN. His photographs have appeared in TIME magazine, The New York Times, National Geographic, GEO, Le Monde magazine, and many others. Dezso has recently been nominated for the 2012 Prix Pictet.

Tamas Dezso's series 'Here, Anywhere' offers a desolate yet beautiful look at the people and places left behind during the post-communist transition in Hungary. Begun in 2009, the series explores the unique atmosphere of the country's now 20-year-long transition, and changing notions of Eastern European identity. With the introduction of democracy in the 1990s came euphoria and promise, but unrealized expectations of quickly catching up with the West have led to widespread disappointment and frustration, compounded by the current serious economic difficulties have fanned the popularity of far right politics, as well as an anachronistic nostalgia for the stability of communism. Presently Hungary has a right wing populist government and the strongest opposition party is the neo-Nazi party with nearly 1/8th of the eligible voters and gaining popularity.

Dezso's layered images present unsettling moments of stillness that poetically allude to this gritty reality. Motivated by the isolation he sees his country facing, Dezso photographs the people and places of Hungary as symbols, where "a certain out-dated, awkward, longed-to-be-forgotten Eastern Europeanness still lingers." This award-winning series has garnered international attention, earning Dezso First Place at the 2011 CENTER Project Competition in Santa Fe, the Daylight Magazine & Center for Documentary Studies Project Prize, and Grand Prize at the Jeune Création Européenne Biennal 2011/2013 in Paris-Montrouge.

Source: Robert Koch Gallery




Interview with Tamas Dezso

All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
Tamas Dezso: Soon after I left the University of Technology in Budapest in 2000.

AAP: Where did you study photography?
TD: I am self-taught.

AAP: How long have you been a photographer?
TD: I started as a photojournalist with a political daily in 2000.

AAP: What or who inspires you?
TD: Music. Beethoven, Bach and Mozart.

AAP: How could you describe your style?
TD: Documentary.

AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?
TD: Richard Avedon 'Italy #9', 'Boy and Tree, Sicily, July 15, 1947'

AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?
TD: Phase One cameras with various Schneider Kreuznach lenses.

AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?
TD: Richard Avedon and Irving Penn

AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?
TD: "Follow the advice of others only in the rarest cases." -- Beethoven

AAP: What are your projects?
TD: I am interested in the transitional period, the period after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?
TD: My first trip to Romania.

AAP:If you were someone else who would it be?
TD: A pianist.

AAP: Your favorite photo book?
TD: Walter Niedermayr's Civil Operations.

 

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AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?My favorite series are the last I have been working on: The disease in our culture, which is about chronically ill people, the unknown heroes of our time. It is a tribute to them, their carers and families. AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?When I started I used an old Pentax, with black and white rolls for portraits and color rolls for objects I painted later. Now I work with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 7D. The lenses are also Canon. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?My pictures are made of many individual photographs. I use photo editing programs to assemble and compose the final image. For me it is important to convey the idea I have in mind and I edit the photos until I think the concept is understood. AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?I really like Spanish creativity. My favorite are perhaps Chema Madoz for his pulchritudinous images which I would summarize in "less is more". And Cristina García Rodero because she transmits me all the strength of human feelings. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?To be passionate about what he is doing, to follow his instincts. And, especially, to be honest with what he thinks, beacuse that will be his way of looking at what the others see. AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Wanting to be very original? Or thinking you already know everything? AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?I would mention a fragment of one of José Hierro's poems that summarizes well how sometimes a moment can be turned into something timeless. "...But there are things that do not die and others who never lived. And there are some that fill the universe, And it is not possible to get rid of its memory." (José Hierro / "Alegría" 1947). 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Sean Perry is a fine-art photographer living and working in New York City and Austin, Texas. His photographs and books center on architecture, space and light - expressing the ambiance felt within built environments. He is currently completing three series/books on New York City entitled Monolith, Gotham and Fotopolis, as well as exhibiting a recently completed body of work on the dreamscape of temporary environments, Fairgrounds. Perry attended Berklee College of Music and was a working musician before turning to photography in 1996. His photographs and books have been acquired by notable private collectors including Manfred Heiting and Alan Siegel in addition to being held in the permanent collections of the Museum Fine Arts Houston, the Amon Carter Museum, Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern & Mexican Photography, and the Harry Ransom Center. Cloverleaf Press published Perry's first limited edition book, Transitory in 2006, and followed with a second title, Fairgrounds in the Fall of 2008. In 2009 he was selected as a finalist for the Hasselblad Masters award for his work and book Fairgrounds. His photographs have been published widely including the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Graphis, Camera Arts, New York Magazine, Billboard and American Photography. He has served as an adjunct Professor of Photography in Austin since 2001 as well as an adjunct Professor for the School of Visual Arts in New York City since 2006. Perry frequently contributes his photographs to auctions that benefit photographic and social concerns. His work is represented by the Stephen L. Clark Gallery, Austin. Interview with Sean Perry All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Sean Perry: When I was younger I didn't know or have access to any professional photographers, but I really loved movies and looked at a lot of books. At that time I got into music and everything else was just secondary. As a musician I always thought about pictures and the visual atmosphere great songs provoke and in my thirties I started photographing and haven’t stopped. AAP: Where did you study photography? With whom? SP: I don’t have a formal background studying photography but it’s not quite right to say I'm self taught either. One of my old bandmates, Jeff Miller is a brother to me, a great photographer and my first teacher - I learned about cameras, making good pictures and printing in the darkroom. That experience was also my first big introduction to contemporary artists like Joel-Peter Witkin and The Starns. I later had important mentors in a photographer I assisted for, Frank Curry and a sculptor who has had a tremendous influence on me as an artist and photographer, John Christensen. AAP:Do you have a mentor? SP: I have a few friends and colleagues who I admire and trust that I ask for insight and guidance with various things... Elizabeth Avedon, Jace Graf, Stephen Clark - there are others. I ask different people, different questions for different reasons if that makes sense. I think it's important to deeply consider who you ask and why. I've been a client of Mary Virginia Swanson for many years and her savvy is always invaluable, I truly owe her a great deal. I'm always learning and seeking out the chance to improve and grow. AAP: How long have you been a photographer? SP: I have been making pictures consistently since 1996 and started working professionally in 1998. AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? SP: What I remember most are the pictures that when I saw the film, they made me feel that the image was somehow better, or more than my capability at the time. It would lead to months of chasing and trying to catch up to the image. The first time that happened was of a barren tree in the wintertime, backlit. I remember making the other pictures from that time, but the experience of seeing something unexpected back on the contact sheets always sticks with me as meaningful. AAP: What or who inspires you? SP: Music always. Also the discovery and study of people that give themselves to their pursuits with the discipline and heart to be excellent. New York City. Late fall leading to snow and cold weather makes me happy. AAP: How could you describe your style? SP: A little romantic but not sentimental - sci-fi but not overtly conceptual. I always work to make beautiful images and objects that don’t apologize for their consideration of aesthetic and design. My experience has taught me there is a strange, small line between beautiful and pretty, arbitrary and yet often substantial. I think my favorite word or aim for my work is earnest, and hopefully elegant. I try to be consistent and to quote someone I deeply respect, Paul Rand – "Don’t try to be original, just try to be good." AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? SP: I’m fluent in digital tools and use them to manage images online etcetera, but I have used the same camera gear for over twelve years. Hasselblad 501CM with a 120mm lens and 25A Red filter. Tri-X film in A12 backs. Processed in D76, 1 to 1. Silver gelatin prints bleached and then toned in combinations of sepia and selenium or platinum–palladium prints from enlarged negatives. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? SP: I tend to run film and then not look at it for a while.... I then go through the contact sheets and make work prints of the things that seem to have promise. As the series and work evolves the process of editing, sequencing and design kicks in. After the edges of a project are more or less in place, I’ll go back again and see what I may have missed on the contact sheets. AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? SP: If I am only allowed one, Irving Penn – hands down, no one else. I love books and too many favorites to list, but in no particular order others would be Saul Leiter, Ted Croner, Robert & Shana Parke-Harrison, Tom Baril, Louis Faurer, Edward Burtynsky, Albert Watson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Berenice Abbott and Matt Mahurin. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? SP: Fearlessly make all the bad pictures you need to in order to get to the good ones. Not thoughtlessly in the number of images, but without hesitation in the intent to chase your ideas. When you are disappointed, try to understand why specifically – was it a technical mistake your effort and experience will resolve over time or was it about vision in what you could or could not see at that moment. The technical things are usually easier to improve upon, I have found the other takes additional perseverance and courage. For myself there is always the confrontation of closing the distance between the potency I’m after and the many challenges at hand while guiding it there. I think the biggest secret is simply not to quit. AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? SP: Everyone is different, so very hard to say. I believe one truth for myself has been it’s more valuable to invest time in what your pictures, your life, your point of view are all about and less energy worrying about the urgency sometimes encouraged in technology and shorter term concerns. Play long ball. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? SP: I am currently administrating an ambitious project that connects college students with high school students, creating mentorship and the development of visual language. For the college students it is to illustrate the value of mentorship from both sides, as well as create meaningful dialogue about photography and image making. It provides a mechanism for high school students to share and express their photographic work with a new audience and has direct, tangible advantages for everyone involved – accenting the importance of communication and emphasizing the photography community's tradition of portfolio review. Visit The Picture Review. AAP: Your best memory has a photographer? SP: All of my favorite memories are darkroom related. My first darkroom was in John Christensen's studio, I deeply miss those days and that place. I would often print all day and all night - it's where I learned about photo-chemistry and the subtleties of split-toning and other irresistible alchemy. AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer? SP: My checking account. AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be? SP: It's an interesting question but it reminds me of a rock & roll story, urban legend I remember as a kid and recently retold in Esquire Magazine. When Van Halen was touring in the late 70’s they were opening for Ted Nugent who admired Eddie Van Halen's guitar tone. Among other things, Eddie would hide one of his effect pedals (a tape echo) in an old bomb casing, adding to the mystery of his great tone and why he sounded the way he did. Everyone believed he had a "magic" black box. During sound check, Ted Nugent got the chance to play through Eddie’s rig and was disappointed to discover his guitar tone was unchanged – he sounded like he always did and whatever he loved about Eddie's tone was in his hands and not in the gear. I think photographs are like that, there are many pictures I would be thrilled if I had produced but in the end I can only make what is in my hands and heart. The images I love that others have made don't represent my life and could never belong to me. I remain a fan and audience to my heroes, happily so.
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Charles Muir Lovell has long been passionate about photographing people within their cultures. Upon moving to New Orleans in 2008, he began documenting the city's second line parades, social aid and pleasure clubs, jazz funerals, and brass bands, capturing and preserving for posterity a unique and vibrant part of Louisiana's rich cultural heritage.
Discover ART.co, a New Tool for Art Collectors
Eric Bonjour has been investing as a business angel in the Silicon Valley while building his personal art collection of contemporary art. After obtaining the Art, Law and Business master’s degree at Christie’s Education in 2020, he founded ART.co to fill the secondary market gap. We asked him a few questions about his new powerful tool for Art Collectors.
Exclusive Interview with  Charlie Lieberman
Charlie Lieberman is a photographer and cinematographer based in Southern California. Best known for his work on the TV show, Heroes, Lieberman has also been developing a body of photographic work since the 1960s. His current practice seeks out humble landscapes, avoiding the iconic in an effort to impart a sense of memory, contemplation, and awe. Lieberman is currently an Active Member of The American Society of Cinematographers.
Exclusive Interview with  Diana Cheren Nygren
Diana Cheren Nygren is a fine art photographer from Boston, Massachusetts. Her work explores the relationship of people to their physical environment and landscape as a setting for human activity. Her photographs address serious social questions through a blend of documentary practice, invention, and humor.
Exclusive Interview with  Castro Frank
Castro Frank is a Los Angeles based visual artist who has translated his personal experiences of growing up in the San Fernando Valley into a signature journalistic and candid approach to photography.
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