Hungary: Desolation & Isolation

Documentary photographer Tamas Dezso offers a look at the desolation, and beauty, of the people and places left behind in Hungary’s 20-year transition out of Communism. (Above: Night Watchman, Budapest 2009)

-Soviet Military Painting (Kiskunlachaza, 2012)

The map of Hungary is speckled with capsules of time. During the political transformation twenty years ago, as the country experienced change it simply forgot about certain places – streets, blocks of flats, vacant sites and whole districts became self-defined enclosures, where today a certain out-dated, awkward, longed-to-be-forgotten Eastern Europeanness still lingers. – Tamas Dezso, photographer

-Bus Stop (North-East Hungary, 2011)

His award-winning series, Here, Anywhere, chronicles the country’s unrealized expectations, and the emergence of economic upheaval and far right politics.  The Robert Koch Gallery notes that Dezso’s  “layered images present unsettling moments of stillness that poetically allude to this gritty reality.”

-Bricks (Budapest, 2009)

-Locust Trees (North-East Hungary, 2011)

-Equestrian Statue (Pakozd, North Hungary, 2011)

-Sunflowers (Balatonakarattya, West Hungary, 2010)

-Lieutenant Colonel Istvan (Josvafo, North-East Hungary, 2011)

-Roma Ghetto (Budapest, 2010)

-Deer (North Hungary, 2011)

Tamas Dezso’s long-term projects focus on the margins of society in Hungary, Romania and other parts of Eastern Europe.  His work is exhibited worldwide and he is the recipient of numerous awards. His photographs have appeared in Time, The New York Times, National Geographic and similar publications.  

His website is here.

  • All the images in this post are © Tamas Dezso and are linked back to his website

A personal note:

I am viscerally drawn to these photos after a trip off the beaten path through Eastern Europe that taught me how little I know about this region of the world.  Not everything was as bleak as the forgotten pockets Dezso accurately describes.  But his images reflect how I also experienced Eastern Europe outside its bustling cities.  My path traversed huge areas dotted with crumbling Soviet installations, sere fields and abandoned villages, precisely how Dezso captured this part of Hungary.

Categories: Photography

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5 replies »

  1. amazing work…the first picture is too perfect though, It’s hard to believe that caravan exisits in front of that wall, with the orange curtain, clean white paint and birds painted on it..and the nightwatchman in front of the curtain.. surreal where all the other images are documentary-style


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