Articles Tagged with: André Kertész
André Kertész | Broken Plate, Paris, 1929
André Kertész | <i>Broken Plate, Paris, 1929</i>

André Kertész | Broken Plate, Paris, 1929

In this picture of Montmartre, I was just testing a new lens for a special effect. When I went to America, I left most of my material in Paris, and when I returned I found sixty percent of the glass-plate negatives were broken. This one I saved, but it had a hole in it. I printed it anyways. And accident helped me to produce a beautiful effect.

-André Kertész, Kertész on Kertész

André Kertész | Rainy Day, Tokyo, 1968
Rainy Day, Tokyo, 1968, André Kertész

Rainy Day, Tokyo, 1968, André Kertész

You do not have to imagine things; reality gives you all you need. I was in Tokyo. It was a rainy day, and I had just bought a new lens. I took some test shots out of the window of my hotel when I saw these people crossing the street–a perfect composition.

-André Kertész, Kertész on Kertész

André Kertész | Underwater Swimmer, 1917
Underwater Swimmer Esztergom,1917, André Kertész

Underwater Swimmer Esztergom,1917, André Kertész

After I was wounded [in WWI] I was in the hospital for almost nine months. We went swimming in the pool every day, and I realized the distortions in the water. When I photographed them my comrades said, ‘You are crazy. Why did you photograph this?’ I answered: ‘Why only girl friends? This also exists.’ So I photographed my first distortion in 1917 – others followed later, especially the nudes in 1933.

-André Kertész, Kertész on Kertész

André Kertész | Chez Mondrian

I had the great pleasure of seeing a vintage print of Chez Mondrian in person at a gallery in Los Angeles. Not behind glass, framed on a wall but pulled from a vellum sleeve inside a photo box. I was flush at the time and contemplating buying one of my favorite photos.

I did not purchase it. But I will someday.

chez mondrian

Chez Mondrian, Paris, 1926, André Kertész

I went to his studio and instinctively tried to capture in my photographs the spirit of his paintings. He simplified, simplified, simplified. The studio with its symmetry dictated the composition. He had a vase with a flower, but the flower was artificial. It was colored by him with the right color to match his studio.

-André Kertész, Kertész on Kertész

The Shadow Self-Portrait

Ah, the shadow self-portrait. I’ve done it. I know you’ve done it. Flickr and Facebook are filled with them. We are all so clever and artsy.

We are also just rehashing some old, tired ground. I am convinced there are many more of these self-portraits by the big name shooters. I will find them and post them. I will be curious to see which is the earliest one I can find. So far, Kertész is in the lead but that is not surprising.

John Vink, Colorado

Self-portrait, 1986, Colorado © John Vink/ Magnum Photos


Shadow Self Portrait, 1927, Andre Kertesz

Ansel Adams

Self-Portrait, Monument Valley, Utah, 1958, Ansel Adams

André Kertész | His Inspiring and Lasting Influence

André Kértész remains my largest influence when I am behind the camera. It may have been chance that a professor lent me one of his books when I was eighteen but that chance gift was my introduction into the world of photography. Kértész was the first master whose images I studied and I pored over that book for hours. I could have easily been handed a monograph by Arbus or Avedon or Adams. Perhaps my professor knew what she was doing.

I have been following that initial insight and inspiration ever since. Many times I find myself unintentionally copying Kértész on the street.

There is a gentle humanistic quietness, an easy poetry to his images and a seeming raw, amateurish quality that makes his images readily accessible. The incredible perfection of Cartier-Bresson or Salgado can sometimes create a personal distance between the image and the viewer because the flawless, stunning compositions and technique can render an image almost to the level of a graphic, it being so pure of form and idea. The converse is Kértész’s work with its easy homeyness that is flawed and familiar, inviting and intimate, and in the end, deeply personal. The series of images he made of the glass sculpture that reminded him of his departed wife is a subject of heartbreaking vulnerability, a view that few of the masters have ever let us see.

He is considered the grandfather of street photography. The Getty Museum’s Photography Curator, Weston Naef described Kértész as

a little like Christopher Columbus, who discovered a new world that, in the end, was named for someone else.

Cartier-Bresson also said once said of himself, Robert Capa, and Brassaï, that

Whatever we have done, Kertész did first.

He is also credited by Brassaï as being his mentor and the one who encouraged him to document the nights of Paris.

Except for his celebrated period in Paris in the 20’s and 30’s, he has always been tragically under appreciated and oddly looked over especially after his relocation to the United States. Because of this, he is something of a photographer’s photographer, cherished by those who shoot and those who study those who have shot.

I still find myself looking at a proof sheet, wondering about the familiarity of an image I’ve created until I realize that it is my version of a Kértész.

I am an amateur, and I intend to remain an amateur for the rest of my life. The photograph gets its beauty from the very truth with which it is stamped. This is why I guard myself against any kind of professional trickery or virtuosity.

I attribute to photography the task of recording the real nature of things, their interior life. The photographer’s art is a continuous discovery which requires patience and time. A photograph draws its beauty from the truth with which it is marked.

André Kértész, 1930.

We all owe him a great deal.

Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Chez Mondrian

André Kértész, Chez Mondrian, 1926

The Fork

André Kértész, The Fork, 1928

Rainy Day Tokyo

André Kértész, Rainy Day Tokyo, 1968

Café du Dome, 1928

André Kértész, Café du Dome, 1928


André Kértész, Martinique, 1972

Andre Kertesz Meudon, Paris 1928

André Kértész, Meudon, 1928

Ballet, 1938

André Kértész, Ballet, 1938