HUNGARIAN MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY
What does it collect?
Primarily, of course, photographs. Included in its collection of over half million is the first daguerrotyp photographed on 1840, the last picture to join the collection did so on April 3rd 2001, but by the time you read these lines there will be more recent ones. From this it should be clear that the Photo Museum - while it is guided primarily by historical considerations - does not forget that today's pictures will be tomorrow's history.
Does the Museum collect Hungarian photos, or pictures of universal value?
Both, but with different considerations. In its Hungarian collection it strives for completeness. It collects photos and even whole bequests of all eras, trends and significant authors. In the universal area, however, due to its limited resources, it is only able to obtain occasional purchases or trade outstanding creations.
In whom does it take most pride?1
First, in those natives of Hungary who have achieved prominence abroad. We can claim to have significant materials from André Kertész, Moholy Nagy László, Kepes György, Robert Capa, Cornell Capa, Paul Almásy, Brassai, Munkácsi Márton and others. We hold in no lesser esteem the most outstanding of those who remained in Hungary, like Pécsi József, Balogh Rudolf, Escher Károly, Angeló, Máté Olga, and about a half thousand other artists. Of contemporaries, we have pictures by Féner Tamás, Korniss Péter, Kerekes Gábor and others, stored in air conditioned storage. Of the universal artists some photos by Sudek, Drtikol, Renger-Patzsch, Cartier-Bresson may be found. But that's not all. We can be proud of our presently developing special collection, which we call Fotohungarika containing Hungarian-related works of foreign photographers who had once or recently worked in Hungary. Erich Lessing, Mario de Biasi, Ferdinando Scianna, Chim, the above mentioned Cartier-Bresson and others, children of many nations have contributed their memories of Hungary to our collection.
What else do we collect?
I'll just list the major areas: original negatives, cameras and objects used for making pictures, relics, medals, awards, archival documents about the whole of photography, books, booklets, reflections saved on sound and video tapes, CD and other media, interviews, portraits from the area of photography, books, albums and publications.
What else does the Photo Museum do?
It collects, restores, expertly assembles and exhibits the above materials. In addition it publishes books, adding to Hungarian professional literature by four or five monographs. It assists scientific researchers, it is a practical arena for college students, aids other museums, collections, private collectors seeking its assistance with its accumulated wisdom. It also does basic research and creates databases. Annually it organizes 8-10 exhibitions at the museum and an equal number at other locations, abroad. It is presently working on making its entire collection and services available on the Internet as well.