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IntroductionMartin Munkacsi’s photographs emanate a fascinating restlessness that finds its counterpart in this Hungarian photographer’s resume. He began as a photojournalist in his homeland of Budapest and became the embodiment of his trade. While photographing sports, he experimented with camera movements and, as a result of his surprising visualization, became a leading figure of “Neuen Sehens (New Visions)” of the 20th Century. The spellbinding movement transforms the crucial perspective, with an intuitive aesthetic flair, into an enthralling picture. Therein lies the reason that Munkacsi served as a role model for masters such as Cartier-Bresson or Richard Avedon, who circled around him.
The last wild years of Berlin, before the Nazi takeover of power, were created for Munkacsi who like no other led a vibrant life, the “Dance on the Volcano”, and not unduly became the best-paid photographer of his time. After his emigration to the USA, he gave dance and fashion photography new impulses with his pioneering pizzazz. Perhaps its this energy of the journalistic investigator that resisted museum status. At any rate, both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MoMA in New York decline the purchase of his assets. That would disperse his work and cause him to be relatively forgotten. Contributing to his renewed presence in the general consciousness in the recent past is a large retrospective in the “Haus der Fotografie” in the Hamburg Deichtorhallen.
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