Articles

2024

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by Dorottya Balkó

Unboxing the Horus Archives – Event summary

Curious gazes were roaming over the unassuming shoeboxes placed in the middle of the table. The small studio space of Capa Center slowly filled up with excitement as people were waiting for their lids to open and the stories locked inside them to unfold.

 

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by buhera klub

Buhera as vernacularity

Professor Geoffrey Batchen while defining the term vernacular to rebrand it for the kind of photo discourse he was interested in pursuing “began to investigate the use of the word vernacular, a word already employed in architectural circles to describe ordinary structures, like homemade mud brick dwellings but also, and more controversially, the ugly generic buildings used by Pizza Hut or McDonald’s”. Inspired by his findings we asked the team of 'buhera klub' to shed a light on the origin of the phrase vernacular architecture so we can gain more knowledge about theoretical parallels that lie between the before mentioned architectural practices and everyday forms of photography.

 

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by Róza Tekla Szilágyi

About the shifting line between the private and the public memories of the Soviet period – Interview with Oksana Sarkisova and Olga Shevchenko, authors of the book titled In Visible Presence. Soviet Afterlives in Family Photos
 

The book is a vivid outline of the role that family archives play in the almost constantly changing zeitgeist – it does all this in such a manner that we can structurally understand the individual ways that inspired, catalysed and influenced the ways of everyday photography practices during the Soviet-era.

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by Endre Cserna

A short note on wrist-spotting
 

The most interesting visual experience for me last year happened on the most surprising platform, and it has continued to captivate my imagination ever since, especially considering that the images themselves may not necessarily be interesting at first glance.

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by Szabolcs Barakonyi

Sándor Kereki – Budapest in the seventies from a boy’s perspective

Curatorial text from the exhibition

Our exhibition titled Sándor Kereki – Budapest in the seventies from a boy’s perspective was on view from December 7, 2023 to February 4, 2024 in Capa Center, Budapest. Sándor Kereki was born in 1952 and at the age of 16, while still in high school, he started taking pictures with the camera his father gave him for his birthday. He never studied photography in a formal school setting. 

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by the Vernacular Social Club

The Photo Vault’s new episode covers Eidolon’s conference on everyday imaging

The Photo Vault is a newly started podcast series run by the team behind Vernacular Social Club – a journey into Vernacular Photography, archives, collecting and photo books. The host of the podcast is Lukas Birk, founder of Fraglich Publishing, co-founder of the Vernacular Social Club.

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by Dorottya Balkó

On the liquid time of photography – Summary of the In Visible Presence book launch

With the passing decades, the changes in memory politics require us to constantly reflect back on and contextualise certain parts of our national history. The photograph functioning as a kind of lieu de mémoire can help us either recall bygone events or create a subsequent connection to our ancestors’ past. Showcased on bookshelves, organised in numbered albums or kept in shoeboxes, everyday photographs are especially powerful tools to engage with stories that are often missing from history books – the private narratives of ordinary people.

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by Róza Tekla Szilágyi

Interview with Miklós Tamási about finding the material that led to the exhibition titled Budapest – The First Golden Age

The photography exhibition displaying more than one hundred works in the Hungarian National Gallery celebrating the 150th birthday of Budapest is a huge success – so much so that the institution just extended the exhibition until 7 April. The exhibition organised in conjunction with the Fortepan digital photo archive evokes the Hungarian capital in its heyday, at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We sat down with Miklós Tamási, founder of Fortepan to find out how he came across the negatives of photographs of Budapest, hitherto unknown in Hungary, taken by a German postcard publishing company and preserved in the collection of the Deutsche Fotothek in Dresden.

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by Róza Tekla Szilágyi

The four minutes of anticipation –
Interview with Sue Smallwood about her collection of photo booth pictures – Collectors & their collection vol. 1.

Focusing on the collectors and safekeepers, Eidolon Journal starts a new series where we showcase a unique archive and collection every month!
In the first part of this new series we’ve talked to Sue Smallwood, whose collection of photo booth pictures captures raw emotions, offering glimpses into people's lives that we can all relate to.

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by Róza Tekla Szilágyi & Endre Cserna

"We are living in the image world"
Interview with Andrew Dewdney,
co-founder of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image

Andrew Dewdney, a research professor at London South Bank University, specialises in examining the paradoxes within contemporary visual culture through his extensive theoretical work. He is committed to developing systematic methods to unravel and comprehend these multifaceted complexities. His research primarily focuses on how computation has transformed the photographic image and how museum studies can aid in understanding the challenges related to heritages, collections, and archives in a born-digital world.

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by Róza Tekla Szilágyi

On visual literacy and framing the world through the camera’s lens

Interview with Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck, directors of the movie 'And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine' which is on a mission to measure the depth of humanity’s infatuation with framing the world through the camera’s lens; chronicling how we went from capturing the image of a backyard to a multi-billion-euro content industry in just 200 years.

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by Endre Cserna

“We want to display the variability of Jewish identity” – Interview with the team behind J Photo Archive – Collectors & their collection vol. 2.

J Photo Archive is a platform committed to preserving the photographic heritage of Jewish history and culture in Hungary. Its primary goal is to curate a diverse collection of photographs, with the potential for expansion through new, submitted materials from various sources.

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by Endre Cserna

The archive is a place where truth meets fiction

Interview with Belgian-Spanish artist Masha Wysocka. Her latest project, also in the form of an artist’s book, Truth is Stranger than Fiction, will soon be exhibited at the Circulation(s) Festival 2024 in Paris. This project utilises two different archival holdings from the Blinken Open Society Archives in Budapest, Hungary.

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Book recommendation

April’s Eidolon Shelf pick – Annebella Pollen: More than a snapshot. A visual history of photo wallets

Eidolon Shelf represents a collaborative effort between Eidolon and one of our favourite places in Budapest: ISBN books + gallery, a contemporary art bookstore and a gallery space. This initiative showcases a monthly selection of books closely aligned with the realms of vernacular photography, banal imaging, and contemporary photographic theories. Our goal is to popularise knowledge in these specific areas through the titles that we enjoyed and have influenced our thinking in the field of everyday imaging. Each month, a featured publication takes center stage on the Eidolon Shelf at the ISBN store, alongside other carefully curated books which are available for purchase on the spot.

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by Róza Tekla Szilágyi

“Amateurism is in the DNA of photography”– Interview with Núria F. Rius, curator of the exhibition titled The domestic camera. Amateur photography in Catalonia (ca. 1880-1936)

The exhibition on view in Barcelona reviews the phenomenon of amateur photography in the late 19th and early 20th century, focusing on a selection of recurrent and common themes and visual motifs that allow us to understand who practised photography as a hobby and how the language of amateur and popular photography was constituted at the beginning of the 20th century.

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by Endre Cserna

Editor’s Letter – March & April, 2024

In this article, you'll find two editorials from our latest newsletters, which were sent out on April 2nd and March 4th, 2024. Moving forward, we will publish our monthly editor's letters, in which we always reflect on recent events, approximately two weeks after the newsletter is out.

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by Endre Cserna

“My flatmate has an average screen time of 14 hours, and she’s doing great.” – Interview with Zurich-based artist Gaia Del Santo

Gaia Del Santo’s artistic approach draws inspiration from the diverse and formative phenomena of the online world, consumerism, and social media cultures. Besides sculpture, textile, and video, she incorporates aesthetic and photographic elements of online platforms, internet trends, and memes into her analytical yet spirited multimedia compositions.

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by Dorottya Balkó

Eidolon Club vol. 1 – ‘And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine’ screening and discussion – Event summary

Historical footages of the first photographic experiments and familiar-looking, viral clips flashing before our eyes, telling the story of how the invention and technological development of the camera fundamentally influenced human behaviour. The documentary titled And the 'King Said: What a Fantastic Machine' tackles the problems rooted in our often-lacking understanding of how images work. The work of directors Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck was the topic of the first Eidolon Club event, discussed by professionals working in the field of visual culture.

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by Róza Tekla Szilágyi

Editor’s Letter – May, 2024 – A. Robert Kaufman and the Posographe

In this article, you can read the editorial from our latest newsletter written by Eidolon-director Róza Tekla Szilágyi, which were sent out on May 2nd, 2024.

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Book recommendation

May’s Eidolon Shelf pick – Fraglich Publishing

Eidolon Shelf represents a collaborative effort between Eidolon and one of our favourite places in Budapest: ISBN books + gallery, a contemporary art bookstore and a gallery space. This initiative showcases a monthly selection of books closely aligned with the realms of vernacular photography, banal imaging, and contemporary photographic theories. Our recommendation for May is the publications of Fraglich Publishing.

2023

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“I’m more interested in the stories, the experiences, the memories, and the emotions surrounding photographs than I am in what they look like”

Interview with Annebella Pollen

Annebella Pollen is Professor of Visual and Material Culture at University of Brighton, UK, where she researches undervalued archives and untold stories in art and design history.

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“The whole of the past century is there, hidden in albums”

Miklós Tamási interviewed by György Simó 

Fortepan is the largest, constantly expanding, Hungarian-language, free online archive of photographs. It was named after the Fortepan photographic film manufactured in the former Forte Factory in the town of Vác.

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“Archives are all about decisions and whoever puts together an archive decides what is shown and what is forgotten. The archive is not a neutral space.”

Interview with New York City-based artist Pacifico Silano

Pacifico Silano, born in 1986 in Brooklyn, NY is a conceptual artist specializing in lens-based practices.

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When forms like the “MySpace angle” emerged

Interview with Brookly-based Canadian freelance writer, video game designer and podcaster merritt k about her new publication LAN Party

 

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The Optimal Moment

On the Interest Toward Everyday Photography

Nowadays, we live in the age of banal image-making, since taking photos has become comically simple; anyone can snap pictures anytime. Remarkably, besides the interest in photos taken today, past-century vernacular photography is also drawing considerable attention.

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“They’re often nostalgic images because that’s what they remind us of: the momentary reprieve from drudgery.”

Interview with writer, photographer, and blogger Matt Colquhoun

Their new book Narcissus in Bloom: An Alternative History of the Selfie was recently published on Repeater Books and presents an alternative interpretation of the selfie.

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“The number of ‘ownerless’ vernacular images in circulation now is huge”

Interview with The Family Museum

The mission of The Family Museum is to explore our understanding of ‘family’ as expressed through vernacular photography, and the opportunities the archive offers for research and discussion around the history and practice of amateur photography.
 

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“I became preoccupied with the collection, and not my own images”

Interview with Sándor Kardos, founder of the Horus Archives

Named the Horus Archives, the collection of Sándor Kardos has been expanding for more than 40 years, becoming, in terms of size, the largest private collection in Hungary. Quoting him: "I learned a lot from amateur photographers, from the hundreds of thousands of people whom I cannot know personally."

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Does Photography Have a Future?

Between the Eye and AI

Excerpt from Joanna Zylinska's forthcoming book titled The Perception Machine: Our Photographic Future Between the Eye and AI (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2023).

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From Other People’s Photographs (2008–2011)

Photo-essay

Joachim Schmid (born in 1955) is an artist and photographic critic based in Berlin who is primarily known for his work focusing on vernacular photography. One of his most renowned works is the series titled Other People's Photographs (2008-2011), in which he self-published ninety-six books featuring photographs sourced from online platforms such as Flickr. 
 

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The Social Photo

Excerpt from Nathan Jurgenson's book On Photography and Social Media, first published by Verso in 2019

It’s the little things: your friend who texts instead of ringing a doorbell. A bus filled with people looking at phones instead of newspapers. And it’s the bigger things: waves of protesters using these same phones to crowd the streets and overthrow long-established regimes.

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A constant state of flux between uses and misuses

Interview with Michal Simunek

Michal Simunek is a Czech academic specialising in media studies and sociology. His scholarly interests span various fields, including the theory and history of photography, media studies, visual culture, consumer culture, and ethnographic research methodologies.

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Interview with visual anthropologist & critic András Bán

Hungarian Interview Series (with English subtitles)

András Bán (1951), visual anthropologist, teacher, art critic, has been publishing reviews and essays specifically on fine-art photography and contemporary art since 1973. From 1993, he taught visual anthropology at the Department of Cultural and Visual Anthropology, University of Miskolc, and was co-founder of the Private Photo and Film Archives’s research group.
 

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Nobody wants to take a bad picture

Introductory text

Our exhibition, unveiling previously unseen parts of Sándor Kardos' remarkable photography project, ‘The Horus Archives,’ was on display from September 21, 2023 to October 14, 2023. This compact project was hosted at the Szikra Képzőművészeti Bemutatóterem in Budapest, and it delved into a unique and intriguing aspect of press culture in Post-War Hungary – the practice of ‘photo critiques.’
 

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Questions about showcasing vernacular photography vol. 1 – Roundtable summary

Roundtable summary

Although amateur or family photographs weren’t created with the intention of being institutionally collected, researched, and displayed, these visual materials have still become an important topic in contemporary visual culture. The collecting of everyday photographs has a rich history in Hungary; hence they can be found in archives of vastly different profiles. Eidolon Centre of Everyday Photography now takes up the quest to initiate discussion concerning the different institutional approaches to vernacular photography and to uncover the legal issues their usage and showcasing might bring forward.

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“Navigating the complexities of working with images, especially those depicting other cultures, poses numerous challenges”

Interview with Austrian visual artist & publisher Lukas Birk, who recently visited Budapest as a guest lecturer for our event, 'Talks on Everyday Imaging.' Simultaneously, he launched a new platform, Vernacular Social Club, an association dedicated to promoting and disseminating vernacular documents. The club's founding members also include Jean-Marie Donat, Thomas Sauvin and Christophe Thiebaut.

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Whither the vernacular?

Watch Geoffrey Batchen's keynote speech at our event 'Talks on everyday imaging – the analogue and digital realm of the vernacular'.

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But what makes Mariska Travnik so unique?

Her works are preserved in public museum collections and have also been exhibited, she was subject to ethnographic studies and a TV show on social photography, yet, Mariska Travnik’s name may not ring a bell. While her life’s work has literally been taken off from the attic, it is still gathering dust, even though Mariska’s artistic career is one of the unique and unexpected wonders in the history of Hungarian photography.

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Crash course on analogue everyday photography – vernacular photography outside the realm of the digital

Watch all three presentations of the first segment of our event 'Talks on everyday imaging – the analogue and digital realm of the vernacular'.

 

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Questions about showcasing vernacular photography vol. 2 – Focusing on copyright

When someone takes up the challenge of showcasing photographs on a website or as part of a print publication, more often than not faces the limitations of copyright. Therefore, the second panel discussion of Eidolon Centre for Everyday Photography hosted by Capa Center focused on the detailed explanation of the current copyright system using Fortepan as a case study. The guests were Dr. Flóra Gubicz copyright lawyer and Miklós Tamási, the founder of Fortepan.

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Interview with photographer Sándor Kereki

Tune in to our video with Sándor Kereki as he shares insights into his photographic legacy and the nearly lost body of work currently exhibited at the Capa Center in Budapest. Our exhibition Sándor Kereki – Budapest in the seventies from a boy’s perspective is open until February 4, 2024.

 

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Everyday and vernacular photography archives in Hungary

We present two recordings from our 'Talks on everyday imaging – the analogue and digital realm of the vernacular’ event's Hungarian segment: an insightful lecture by photo critic Judit Gellér on the history of Hungarian vernacular photography and a video featuring Miklós Tamási, co-founder of the region's most significant photographic archive, Fortepan.

 

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Questions about showcasing vernacular photography vol. 2 – Focusing on personality rights

Not only copyright, but also personality rights could pose a serious challenge for institutions showcasing everyday photographs. Since these photos were taken of and by private individuals, their publishing can understandably cause personal inconveniences. Through the discussion of lawyer Bea Bodrogi and the director of Eidolon Centre Róza Tekla Szilágyi, the third event organized by Eidolon Centre and Capa Centre dived into the complexities of personality rights.

 

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Contemporary/digital everyday photography and questions of mass imaging/social photo

Watch the presentations of the second segment of our event 'Talks on everyday imaging – the analogue and digital realm of the vernacular' featuring Annebella Pollen, Joanna Zylinska & Joachim Schmid.

 

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by András Zsuppán

Frigyes Schoch: The Golden Age in 3D

To celebrate on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Budapest, the Hungarian National Gallery is hosting a special exhibition of over a hundred photos evoking the capital city during its first golden age, the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The pictures of the city, previously unknown in Hungary, were made by a German postcard manufacturer, and they were discovered by the editors of Fortepan in the collection of Deutsche Fotothek in Dresden. These views are supplemented with extraordinary 3D stereograms of the young metropolis taken by Frigyes Schoch.

 

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