Turay Balázs


When the ferry is leaving Staten Island of New York, approaching the Statue of Liberty in the cool morning breeze, his tension starts to dissolve. Despite difficulties and inhibitions, he has to try. The assignment: “get closer – accost strangers in the street, asking: May I take a photo on you?”. Then he remembered the ferry. Enclosed space, morning hours, he must not turn yellow. And really, his crippling inhibitions disappeared. Of course, nobody was abusive or reluctant. He looked for human relations and gestures: couples hugged each other, workbounds were sipping coffee. From then on, things seemed to work.


He studied a year at the ICP (International Center of Photography) in New York. Encouraged by friends, he registered himself to this institution, founded by Cornell Capa. While Robert Capa, the famous photographer was impatient and full of doubt, his brother, Cornell, was not only a good brother, but a true friend and a good manager as well.

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He had to get used that he looked foolish first, if he started to make photos with a wooden box. In front of an old building we can ponder on what the people could do, how they could live in the time of the construction of this house. What did the Romans want to send as a message to posterity with their columns? What do we want to say about ourselves with our present buildings?

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Manually made photos are real rarities today. We need to know how to expose into a glass panel, what is the capacity of a copper plate, what can do with aluminum one, and many more. It is a hard job to get both raw materials and chemicals.

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Before entering the ICP, he was trained at the newspaper HVG. He was so influenced by the Bosnian war, that he decided to be a war correspondent. His family could hardly dissuade him. So he went to a cinema studio. His job was to serve coffee for the “fragrant girls”. He succeeded to go to Cyprus, where he could get experience in documentary filmmaking. He formulated there, what is prohibited for a documentary artist.

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He made a photo series on the family members and survivors of the Roma killings. It was alien for him to make gimmicky pictures. Although being responsible and compassionate, he tried to remain neutral, despite the fact that it was not such a brutal atrocity since the WWII in Hungary. The charge of an artist not only being more sensitive to social issues, but to respond to these as well. In March 2012, his pictures were presented at the FUGA, Budapest Centre of Architecture. Later, part of the photos made a „comeback” to New York, presented at a group exhibition in ICP.



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