AO Journal

A Day at the Museum: The Work of Photographer Tamas Revesz

11. October 2019

As one of the most important of the visual arts, photography can excite, be thought-provoking, elevate the imagination, and most importantly, capture everyday life. 

ArtOrigo dealer and award-winning photographer Tamas Revesz describes his work as a visual storyteller, noting, “As an artist, my goal is - even with single images - to tell something, to surprise the viewer, to make her/him think, to initiate emotion by the message and the composition.” As the author of twelve photography books, his work is best described by New York’s International Center of Photography Founder and Director Emeritus Cornell Capa, "...At first glance [the photographs] look like they are about one thing when on closer examination, it emerges that they are actually about something else altogether. This dichotomy has become Revesz’s trademark.”

As one of the organisers of the World Press Photo exhibition at the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest, the event is the largest international traveling exhibition (touring to 45 countries) based on yearly competition for photojournalists. Here are a few of Revesz’s favorites and you can also view and purchase his work on his ArtOrigo site.


New York Skyline Before 9-11: Featured on the cover of his book New York, Revesz says that viewers later shared the photo was a foreshadowing of the future tragedy. “The early-morning magic show across the river lasts but for a few moments. A waking dream. Through the sheer curtain, the silhouette of the city turns into a cubist composition, the shimmering, uniform slabs interrupted by the Gothic Batman-hood of Riverside Church. A gray-blue Hudson fades into my balcony; the river seems to flow right under me,” he writes in the book’s preface. “Just as one turns a fine morsel of food in one's mouth, savoring every subtle, delectable flavor, so I keep looking, with eyes closed, at the imprint-a panorama of New York framed by my window.”



Ginza/Tokyo: Taken during a one-day assignment on the occasion of his New York exhibition in Tokyo, the photographer says, “As a photographer I frequently favor expressing myself and my relation to the subject by the less direct way, trying to transfer the mood and emotion I have had that time to the viewer.”



Rainy Roma Colony and Roma Boy With His Knife: These images represent the work from a ten-year documentary project on gypsies and was on display in several museums and galleries in the US, Europe and South America. “It was in early seventies when I first had this dramatic and visual example of the suppressed social problems of Roma people… I had a great empathy. As a "champion for the truth," I had the persistence to work on it for ten years, in spite of the fact that nobody was going to publish any of those "sad" images on a topic which was not in favor with any editors in a socialist country. But sometimes miracles do happen: an editor let himself be persuaded to do a photo book publication, on the theory that the courage of facing social problem would rather prove the strength than hurt to a communist system”.



Foggy Hudson, Mystic Empire and Chrysler Building reflect the photographer’s ongoing love affair with the city. After W.W. Norton published my New York Photobook in 2000, I began photographing the city looking for mystery and lyric. I hope one day these pictures will make my next book.”



Kaleidoscopes and Rose Couples: “The gallery where I rented a place for fine art printing in Englewood, NJ, traded beautiful old kaleidoscopes. Looking through that tiny hole, a fairy tale opened with incredible playful forms. First, I enjoyed just holding and looking into those fine instruments, but later I decided to try to photograph these shining, ever-changing forms. Because the actual image was so little, I converted them to vector files to be able to make any size of prints.”



The Kiss: “As a young photographer, I admired György Kepes, László Moholy-Nagy, and others, creating photograms, playing with forms. Why not involving a little more enjoyment? This was one of the first kisses we had in the darkroom over the photo paper with my future wife, whom we are still together.” 


The exhibition runs September 19th through October 23rd. For more information, visit the Hungarian National Museum.