The photography exhibitions of the year in Budapest. Legendary photographs of the most famous photo agency in the world at the Capa Center and at the Mai Manó House.

“Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually.”
/Henri Cartier-Bresson/

Two sets of sensational materials come to Nagymező utca, the street of photography in Budapest at the end of May. Magnum Contact Sheets, the new grandiose travelling exhibition of Magnum Photos, the most famous photo agency of the world is shown at the Capa Center, while Magnum’s First, their first group exhibition is displayed at the 120-year-old Mai Manó House from 27 May to 24 August 2014.


How were these world-famous photographs created? The exhibition at the Capa Center reveals the creation and the selection processes of world-famous photographs to the visitors. The contact sheets show the photographs one after the other, just as on the original roll film. In the early days of Magnum’s inception, founding member Henri Cartier-Bresson famously used contact sheets as a means of critiquing the younger members work. We can take part in a special initiation ceremony: we can trace the creation of classical photographs from one moment to the other through these copies. The scenes that were recorded by the photographer before and after the famous picture are unfolding in front of our eyes.

This unique exhibition shows about 70 contact sheets to the visitors together with the final version of the pictures taken by Magnum’s great photographers (Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Rene Burri, Philippe Halsman, Elliott Erwitt, Jim Goldberg, Alec Soth, Paolo Pellegrin and Trent Parke). Iconic photographs of historical events are on view, showing scenes of D-Day (Robert Capa), the 1968 Paris student protests (Bruno Barbey), Robert Kennedy’s funeral (Paul Fusco), the war in Vietnam (Philip Jones Griffiths) and the terrorist attack on 9/11 (Thomas Hoepker). Portraits of politicians, actors, artists and musicians from Che Guevara through Malcolm X and Miles Davis to The Beatles are also displayed.


The story of the legendary crates
Thanks to the careful packaging by an unknown person, the very first group exhibition of Magnum Photos’ legendary photographers – Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marc Riboud, Werner Bischof, Ernst Haas, Erich Lessing, Jean Marquis and Inge Morath – was lying forgotten in two large crates during more than 50 years in the cellar of the French Institute in Innsbruck. The collection had been shown for only a few months to the public in Austria before it “disappeared” more than 50 years ago.

This treasure trove, found a few years ago, is sensational in the history of photography and it will be also shown in Hungary. The original collection of black-and-white photographs, mounted on 83 fibreboards, which is also the very first group exhibition of the world-famous photo-agency, is put on view in the 1st floor exhibition room of the Mai Manó House.

As one of the most defining exhibitions of photo-history, the show includes the series of Henri Cartier-Bresson about the last days and the funeral of Gandhi, the peaceful pictures of Robert Capa about the South of France, the photo-reportage of Jean Marquis about Hungary and the photographs taken through the lens of Ernst Haas at the shooting of an epic Hollywood film Land of The Pharaohs. The two large crates, which preserved the pictures for 50 years, will also be displayed.

In addition, the pictures taken by Magnum’s famous photographers – David Seymour, Martine Franck, Erich Lessing, Josef Koudelka, Abbas, Patrick Zachmann and Chien Chi Chang among others – during their visits to Hungary since 1947 until now will be projected in the exhibition room on the second floor in the Mai Manó House. The projection will show the postwar situation, the revolution in 1956 and life under socialism, as well as the period from the regime change in 1990 until now.

The curator of the exhibitions: Csizek Gabriella, House of Hungarian Photography – Mai Manó House

 Contact us:

Hampl Márta
communication manager
Capa Center
+36 30 998 7538

Pintér Zsanett
project coordinator
House of Hungarian Photography – Mai Manó House 
+36 1 473 2666