Janos Szász

After graduating from university in 1948, János Szász (1925-2005) intended to become a lawyer, but found himself ‘disqualified’ to practice law under the Communist regime. Szász, instead, turned to photography while supporting his family as graphic artist and sign painter. Within ten years, Szász’s photographs were being widely exhibited and acclaimed among the Socialist countries. His body of work created from the late 1950s through the 1970s, epitomizes the artistic vision and innovation of photographers active in Hungary during the years of Communism.

Featuring boldly graphic abstractions primarily drawn from Hungarian life and landscape, Szász’s images communicate through a universal vernacular. Working in the tradition of Hungarian greats such as André Kertész and László Moholy-Nagy, János Szász’s images are notable for their experimentation with radical perspectives, formalist compositions, and stark, black and white contrast printing. By manipulating darkroom exposure and processing techniques and experimenting with mixing various chemicals, Szász often reduced his subjects to pattern. He utilized a darkroom process he invented which involved chemical over-processing, then painstakingly bleaching over toned areas with a paintbrush to arrive at his dynamically graphic images.

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