Andre Kertesz
An Influential And Inspiring Photographer.

Andre Kertesz was born in Budapest, Hungrey in 1894. As a child he had always liked the anecdotal pictures and drawing found in the magazines of the time and spent many years imagining his own pictures.

Andre Kertesz

At the age of 18 he bought his first camera, an inexpensive box camera with 4.5 x 6 cm plates and taught himself to develop his own negatives.

He enjoyed using small lightweight cameras throughout his life and his work as it allowed his to take unobtrusive images and so enabling him to document life in a true naturalistic way.

His early work was mainly concerned with family life and the people who worked around his family home. One of his early photographs "A young man sleeping "1912, showed the beginnings of a master of photography with its composition and lighting.

Andre Kertesz was conscripted into the army in 1914 and took advantage of his travels during this time by photographing wherever he went. He began to enter competitions and began to win prizes, which encouraged him to take up photography full time and to try and earn his living from it.

Andre Kertesz

When he left the army he moved to Paris in 1925. Here he became a part of the cultural scene and photographed many of the artists residing in the City. These artists included Mondrian, Chagall and Calder as well as up coming writers and film directors.

He became friends with Brassai and Bill Brandt and encouraged them in their work, especially night scenes. He also helped to launce Robert Capa's career as well as influencing Henri Cartier-Bresson with his photo journalistic style.

In 1927 he held his first solo exhibition and began to sell his work to Museums. He also had much of his work published in magazines, most notably "VU" and this is where his work began to shine out.

The magazine was designed to show and document modern life and kertesz journalistic style suited this well.

Kertesz approach to photo journalistic photography encompassed many different view points, he used his camera in many ways, often using aerial views and the contrasts of near and far.

He also liked to explore distorted images, which he first discovered when he took a picture of a swimmer in 1917.

He seemed to have the ability to capture the feeling of movement in his work, by simply knowing instinctively the right exposure to use. Thus creating images with no obvious blur or harshness but instead making almost impressionistic pictures.

He moved to New York to take a job with the keystone agency in 1936, however he soon realised that his style of photography was not what the American publishers wanted.

Unfortunately the Second World War broke out and he was no longer allowed to return to France and was also forbidden to photograph on the streets due to his nationality at this time. He was therefore forced to take work shooting interiors for magazines, which he continued to do for many years.

In later life his work turned from taking pictures of people and instead returned to his love of city life and the abstract patterns created by its buildings. Many of which were taken from his twelfth floor apartment window, looking down into Washington square.

Andre Kertesz continued to take photographs until he died in 1985.

Andre Kertesz

A 10 minute video 'Master Photographers' about Andre Kertesz.