East of Eden. Rebels in Budapest

Budapest, Robert Capa Kortárs Fotográfiai Központ, 16 January 2020 - 23 February 2020
Sándor Rubinstein and László Sándor were not members of any photography circles, and they did not participate in exhibitions, but this is not the only reason why they were considered “outlaws.” Their images clearly testify to that these two young men embodied exactly what the system was trying to protect its youth from so zealously: nonconformity, deviance, rebellion, things that were considered to be the mimicking of “the West” back then.
In the first year of the so-called ‘actually existing socialism,’ sports were the only recreational activities worthy of support, which were not directly permeated by political propaganda. Sports did not fall out of favor with the system later on either, but one of the cornerstones of the so-called Goulash Communism – the consolidation following the revolution of 1956 – was to broaden the range of entertainment forms available for the larger public, including such “bourgeois leftovers” and “genteel escapades” as dance and music clubs or collecting stamps, but even amateur photography became a kind of “movement” in this period.
Although the higher quality cameras, even those produced in Socialist countries, were rather costly at that time, there were really cheap apparatuses as well, and the raw material, just as the amateur lab equipment, could be purchased at a relatively low price. As a result, photography became exponentially more popular in the 1960s and 1970s, and although the administration tried to maintain an appropriate level of supervision – primarily through the patronized clubs and circles, – not all amateur photographers were required to register, so full control could be exercised only over the actually published works.

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