Here's a whole page of between-the-wars images from Munkasci to comment on.
Born in Hungary just before the turn of the century, he moved to Berlin where he became a newspaper photographer in the "decisive moment" style, (which was later picked up by Cartier-Bresson after seeing the image of the native boys running into the water). He seemed to specialize in dymanic motion, and everything was as perfectly composed as HC-B (10 years after him).
Moved to America in the 1930s because of Germany's Jewish pograms, and switched styles to become Steichen's heir apparent in the fashion photography biz.
I just bought the Aperture book of his work, and am just as thrilled about it as when I first came across Andre Kertesz's Paris book in the '70s. But I do wish the reproduction was a little better.
I believe there will be an exhibition of both Munkasci and HC-B at the ICP next month.
Influenced Avedon amongst others. The picture of Lucille Brokaw running on the beach is almost iconic.
(Will have to look up my Muncasi book when I get home....)
Thanks for the post - I'd like to get over to the ICP before this expo closes and see some more!
"Style In Motion: Munkacsi Photographs of the 20's, 30's and 40's" by Nancy White and John Esten
Originally Posted by Bill Hahn
with an appreciation written by Richard Avedon in August 1963 and a quote from a letter from HCB to Munkacsi's daughter Joan in 1977 (this backs up what Bill wrote in the original post):
"Probably in 1931 or 1932 I saw a photograph by your father of three black children running into the sea, and I must say that it is that very photograph which was for me the spark that set fire to the fireworks...."
As usual, I've reacted like a pedant, and have not reacted to the images....what do we think of them? (Slinks out so he won't have to go first.)
Originally Posted by Bill Hahn
Funny you should ask! My first reaction earlier prior to making my first post was that this was a guy who liked to shoot "action".
The "kids" was a dead giveaway - but also the Fred Astaire and the dog and even the German Army soldiers marching away from the Reichstag after the opening of the session etc.
This was no "still life" photgrapher - that's for sure.
So now that I see your second post about the book and it's, espescially its title - it comfirms everything I felt when first looking at the photos!
If you get your hands on the book I mentioned, you will see plenty of other kinds of photographs, e.g., portraits of Marian Anderson, Mickey Rooney and Shirley Temple.
If you watch the DVD about Richard Avedon ("Darkness and Light"- hope I have that right), the Munkasci influence is evident, as Avedon and the models are jumping around.
I think there is an HCB picture similar to the three kids leaping into surf, but I'm too tired to look for it now.
When people talk about "originality" in photographs, it would be well to remember that there are damn few originals.
P.S. the photograph of Fred Astaire dancing is on the cover of the book I mentioned, and on the back cover is a picture probably taken seconds later, with his face to the wall and his feet in a complicated step (left foot behind right knee).
Speaking of Munkasci's influence on HCB: there is an article in today's
NT Times (registration required) about simultaneous exhibitions of the
two photographers at the International Center for Photography in NYC: