Critique

Portfolio: Daniel Halasz

The photographs of a Hungarian photographer show a Russian province, torture in the name of freedom of expression, and Ugandan youth.

Daniel Halasz Age 34

Hungarian photographer and videographer. Studied photography at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest. Has received numerous awards, including the Google Saatchi Photography Prize and Epson Art Photo Award. Was nominated as one of the best young European photographers in 2011 by photo museum Winterthur in Switzerland. Participated in solo and group exhibitions in Hungary, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and the US. Published his works in The Independent, The Sun, The Calvert Journal, Time Out, Metropol, Fotopost, and many other media outlets.

I was around 16 years old when my father decided to get a new camera. Although it was stolen just a few weeks later, I got infected with it’s spell, that gradually grew bigger and bigger until I finally decided to apply to an arts school. I was immediately accepted to the Moholy-Nagy University of Art (Laszlo Moholy-Nagy was a Hungarian artist and photojournalist — Ed.), and a new era started in my life. I have turned 24 that year, and it was already quite clear that this is the medium I feel most comfortable with.

Most of the time I like to work on series, on projects that have a certain common theme binding the images together. The topics usually come from issues that interest me about contemporary society and being, ranging from psychological to sociological phenomena, often looked at from a wider, historical perspective.

The Family project has an interesting story. One day I got an email about a workshop organized by the Rodchenko School of Photography in Moscow. I applied and they accepted my proposal. So, a few weeks later I found myself being the only foreign person with fellow Russian photographers traveling on the Trans-Siberian Express deep into Russia; more specifically, to Udmurt villages in the republics of Udmurtia, Mari El, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. One of the projects that I completed during this period involved me posing as a relative of various Udmurt families, reflecting on ideologies of nationalism and portrait traditions.

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I graduated with an MFA in Photography the following year with the Preparation for the Persecution of Art series, which was influenced by a newly introduced law restricting the freedom of expression in Hungary. The idea was to reflect on this alarming trend through an exaggerated and symbolic act; that is, subjecting myself to torture techniques.

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Since then, I have been involved in a variety of other projects in Uganda and New York, where I am staying for now. It is always the current work that I am most interested in, it is the one that can keep me awake, trying to answer the questions that come up.

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