Hungarian House of Photography



Adam Demeter is one photographer who does not like to be forced to make photographs. He does not like to indulge in a subject just because of the need to be productive. He does not roam the streets to bump into something interesting, he does not steal secret moments, he does not interfere with other peoples’ lives. For him it is important to work with technique and subject close to him, that allows him to work consciously and safely.

His technique is of course the Lomo, thea Soviet amateur-camera, once smiled down upon, now mentioned with awe. Demeter knows how to exploit its advantages and knows how to use its disadvantages to his advantage with a special sense of intimacy. Lomo is a family-friend, it is easy to use, it probably never breaks down, and the photos it makes look as if they had been taken from a family photo-album, with their rounded composition and gentle way of being out of focus. In this case it is not even far from reality, since Demeter has mostly taken wedding-photos with his Lomo, in the past few years. But what can make a wedding photograph interesting if it does not feature relatives or friends of ours?

The answer is complicated and evident at the same time. People on the picture become familiar with the help of an artistic miracle. Demeter uses all the festive banality of a wedding to achieve this. Trespassing the boundaries of his subject with irregular compositions, crowding his characters into a tight frame – like saying: meet my friends, I like them, you will like them too! He breaks the chronology of events, interrupts time and space, puts a question mark to it. That gives importance to all the little details, side-glances, embarrassed smiles, and uneasy gaits. Characters emerge, characters disappear, roles change, bride looms over bridegroom, children swarm over the place, the tipsy best man transforms into a dashing commodore, under the waving standard.

There is a nice gentle clumsiness to these pictures, some Eastern European provinciality. The characters cannot be bothered by the camera, they don’t mind us staring at them. So I sayLike I said, Ádám Demeter’s friends became our friends as well.

But it wasn’t always exclusively the Lomo! On his early photos, Demeter experimented with a homemade Luna camera, making smooth portraits, light and composition-studies about his friends, lovers, and lovers of friends. However, to make a Luna-photo, you must stay in the darkness. The photographer illuminates the model with a torch, and the model tries to behave the way a model should. You can imagine how close and intimate you must get to make such a photograph – because the most interesting is that Demeter makes amateur photographs deliberately, with the skills of a professional. Amateur not because of theits quality, but because of theits approach, theits intimacy. And yet more interesting is that these pictures – in the moment they are born - have the atmosphere of old photographs, as if they were taken when the photographer was younger, an apprentice. They are instant memories.

Balázs Vízer


Hungarian House of Photography in Mai Manó House
H-1065 Budapest-Terézváros, Nagymező utca 20.
Telephone: 473-2666
Fax: 473-2662

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