Revolutionary 1930s Photographer Honored at the Jeu de Paume
Revealing both the professional career and personality of this singular Hungarian photographer, a retrospective of Eva Besnyö is currently being presented by the Jeu de Paume museum. Eva Besnyö is known for her militant views and her efforts to use photography to transmit her vision of reality, a reality very different from that which was familiar at the time.
Besnyö took her camera to the streets in order to express her disapproval of the current political atmosphere. In this way, she freed herself as a woman and as a native Hungarian, at a time when her country was oppressed under the fists of fascism. Beginning her career in Berlin in the 1930s, Eva Besnyö was a radical visionary who was way ahead of her time. It is during this time that her street photography techniques brought us iconic photographs depicting unforgettable scenes, such as a child vagabond with a cello on his back or a group of enthusiastic rally participants.
In Amsterdam, Besnyö joined the feminist cause, but she could not stay long: her Jewish heritage obliged her to go into hiding during the breakout of World War II. After the war, her experience as a Jewish woman provided her with yet another avenue through which to explore her art. And this experience fueled her to capture the tragedy of the human condition, a tragedy all too apparent in the new post-war society. As always, her work was tinged with statements of political dissent, as she used her photographs to speak out against inequalities in world — inequalities that she herself had always been weighed down by.
Until September 23, 2012, guests of the Hotel Regencia can catch this captivating retrospective, which brings together 120 memorable photographs by this legendary feminist and political activist.