André Kertész was born in Budapest, Hungary, on July 2nd, 1894 at a time when photography was undergoing radical changes and becoming available and accessible to more people. Indeed he was known as the father of modern photography and Henri Cartier Bresson said of him ‘we all owe something to Kertész’. He took his first photograph when he was 19 with a cheap box camera, but later progressed to a better camera, taking 9 X 12cm glass plates. He photographed the world and the people around him, even taking his camera with him to the front line when he was called up in 1915.
After the war he continued in his work as a clerk, but in 1925 he moved to Paris and became a freelance photographer, making his prints on a home-made enlarger. In addition to the street life of Paris, he also photographed many famous artists, including Chagall and Mondrian. André Kertész was one of the first people to buy a Leica when it became available in Paris and it was indeed a camera to match his approach to the medium. He began to work for the big illustrated news magazines which emerged in the major cities at that time. In 1936 he went to New York and, although unhappy there, the war and lack of money prevented him from returning to Europe. In 1949 he signed a contract to work for the glossy magazines of Condé Nast an arrangement that turned out to be unsatisfactory. Eventually he returned to her self-employed status.
Although he worked primarily in black and white, he stopped making his own prints and tried been experimenting with Polaroid SX70 in 1980s. One piece of advice that he gave young people looking for a means of self-expression was that photography is the easiest and the best medium to use. André Kertész died on September 28th, 1985.