I’m honoured that I have been awarded a gold medal for my photo titled ’Alien Nation’ in the category called ’What does it mean to be Hungarian?’ at the 22nd Internation-Hungarian Photo Salon organized by World Association of Hungarian Photo Artists in 2022.
I can remember, in 2015, when I took the photo, despite my spirit and basic attitude based on documentary photography, I only thought of taking that picture for myself, half part for the sake of having fun, half part to prevent myself from getting bored, because I kept feeling that I should do something visually with that glass ball and the colours of the Hungarian national flag in the form of waves in it, which I kept steadfastly and took with me everywhere I moved so far – from a university dorm room to an independently rented apartment – after I had left my parents’ house.
I can also remember when I received the 1st prize by the jury for this photo of mine in February 2020 at the fourteenth ’Twelve Months of the Hungarian Tricolor’ photo contest organized by Hungarian TV of New York and Foundation of the Flame of 56.
The chairman of the jury was the Oscar-nominated Hungarian cinematographer, director, Lajos Koltai (HSC, ASC member), awarded with the title of Artist of the Nation, winner of the Kossuth and Béla Balázs Prizes, who was not there at the award ceremony, and I would have liked to meet him by all means to thank him for the prize that I had been awarded.
I knew that I would have the next opportunity to do so on 6 March 2020, as he would then open the exhibition of photographer Attila Kleb titled ’CLOSER’ at the Godot Contemporary Art Institute in Budapest, featuring black-and-white portraits of famous figures from Hungarian and international cultural life, which I wanted to see it anyway.
By the way, that was the last exhibition I saw before the ourbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, as a few days later the first restrictive provisions were enacted in Hungary to prevent the spread of the pandemic, which forced everyone to stay indoors for a long time.
So I went to the opening event, I met Lajos Koltai, I introduced myself and we talked a bit, and when he asked me which photo I had taken, and I answered ’the one with the glass ball’, he simply said: ’This is THE PICTURE.’
Of course, saying that he obviously did not mean to suggest – I think it so, even now – that there was no other PICTURE in the world, that was the beginning and end of all pictures, but that among the entries submitted to the contest, that was the PICTURE. However, I won’t deny it, his brief words were worth a gold medal for me.
My other entry in the category ‘What does it mean to be Hungarian?’ titled ’Conquest of the Homeland’, taken in 2019, at the 7th Hungarian National Assembly in Ópusztaszer, Hungary, has also been included in the catalog of the 22nd Internation-Hungarian Photo Salon.
Moreover, I was also pleased to see my entry titled ’In Hungarian Ceremonial Dress’ projected on the wall at the opening and award ceremony held on 1 October 2022, at the Elisabeth Park Theatre in Budapest, which was taken outside Puskás Arena in Budapest, Hungary, after the football match Hungary vs France, ended in a 1:1 draw, held on 19 June 2021 as a second Euro 2020 Group F game at the 16th UEFA European Football Championship (UEFA Euro 2020).
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