Andre Keresz was born to a middle-class Jewish family in Budapest. Although Andre’s father was a bookseller, he pressured his children to learn about the stock exchange. Andre’s older brother worked at the Budapest exchange his whole life, while Andre found little interest in the field. Against his father’s wishes, Kertesz became interested in magazine illustrations and photography, and later began to study it. As Andre grew older he became more interested and involved in photography. At the age of 20, Andre was sent to the front lines of the Hungarian Revolution to take pictures. That shows how much he loved what he did. Andre Kertesz was ready to take on the world with a camera in his hand.
The photograph above, the Satiric Dancer, embodies what Andre thought photography should be. The photograph holds meaning, movement, and angle. Andre grew up in a Jewish, pastoral setting so movement and exciting women were something he was curious about. This photograph was taken in 1926 in Paris. The woman laying on the couch is wearing a black dance costume. She seems to be in a euphoric state with a slight grin on her face and her eyes closed. Her arms and legs point in every direction. She represents Paris at the time. Paris was, at the time, the center for photography. Paris was fun and artistic, yet graceful and beautiful. Andre captures it all in this photograph.
Another aspect of the photograph that draws the eye, is the juxtaposition of the girls position and the statue. Both are twisting and turning. Both showing different motions in a still photograph. It is impressive how Andre can make one see the statue and woman move in a picture. What is even more amusing is the how he can make that happen when the room feels claustrophobic. It feels that way because the statue’s table is touching the couch in this small corner of a room. But, the movement expands it. Andre says of the photo, “People in motion are wonderful to photograph. It means catching the right moment — the moment when something changes into something else.” Andre Kertesz is such a great photographer because he understood how to capture the best moments. Andre coming from a middle-class Jewish home knew the value of things, whether it be a dollar or a photograph. Andre only took two shots to capture this photograph. He said he didn’t like wasting the roll of film. He knew he had the photograph he wanted, and he knew it had meaning.
“ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ (1894-1985) | Satiric Dancer, Paris, 1926 | Photographs Auction | 1920s, Photographs | Christie’s.” Christie’s Auctions Private Sales | Fine Art, Antiques, Jewelry & More | Christie’s . N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/photographs/andre-kertesz-satiric-dancer-paris-1926-5067449-details.aspx>.
Took the photo from:
“Flaminio Gualdoni » Blog Archive » André Kertész.” Flaminio Gualdoni . N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://flaminiogualdoni.com/?p=4364>.
I’m glad you picked a Kertesz photograph, although you should refer to the photographer by his last name (since you’re not on intimate terms with him). Kertesz, like Stieglitz, was Jewish son who rejected his Jewish father’s desires about a career and yet remained close with his family. When Kertesz left Hungary, like Munkacsi and other Jewish photographers (Robert Capa) he went to Paris, rather than Berlin and fell in with an artistic group of friends. The photo that you chose reflects some of the aesthetics of his circle of Symbolists. Placing the dancer in a position that comments on the sculpture reflects as well Kertesz’s modernist aesthetic, and a dry sense of humor. You don’t comment on the placement of the couch (in a corner) and the way it helps to flatten the space.
Next time, try to find a couple of photographs by Kertesz or others that relate to the one you have chosen. Also, I don’t think that your comments about Kertesz knowing the value of things really relate to his Jewish home. When you make such statements, you need to offer some kind of evidence.