Hungarian zoologist Ottó Herman once said: “There are many occasions on which even serious people can enjoy birds.” We wonder whether Herman ever had to dodge a pigeon when riding a bike? To some people birds in the city are just an annoyance. István Fazekas, who recently won the André Kertész Prize for photography, recorded life together with our feathered friends in Budapest through his lens. His work can be seen at Mai Manó House until May 15.
Although Fazekas, working as a press photographer for weekly newspaper hvg, mostly deals with the refugee crisis, political figures or world news, the main characters of his newest exhibition titled “Bird views of Budapest” are the feathered inhabitants of the capital. They make his themes, which are mostly scenes from everyday life, more dynamic. The birds in Fazekas’ pictures fill the streets, the squares or the foggy sky in front of Parliament with life.
Birds are not easy to work with as models – they rarely hold still in front of the lens – so when you look at his photographs you can’t help but wonder at his incomparable sense for timing. This is especially true for the photograph chosen to promote the exhibition, which presents a dove landing near the Chain Bridge.
Fazekas has even managed to capture birds in situations where they behaved almost human-like, for example when crossing the road in an orderly manner in the proper place just like a human. The unfortunately not too extensive selection of photographs exhibited in the not too high-profile book store of Mai Manó House is accompanied by explanations of each location, from the airport at Ferihegy to the statue of Prince Eugene outside the palace in the Castle District.
Despite these not insignificant defects, it’s still worth a look at the exhibition, since Fazekas is the most successful contemporary Hungarian press photographer and entry is free, so you have nothing to lose in the financial sense of the word. In addition, Mai Manó House, which today serves as the House of Hungarian Photography, was built in neo-renaissance style at the end of the 19th century by imperial und royal court photographer Manó Mai, and is still a real eyecatcher with its unusual facade.
“Bird views of Budapest”
Mai Manó –
House of Hungarian Photography
20 Nagymező utca, District VI
Open weekdays 2-7pm,
You can find more information at