Hungarian House of Photography



Károly Kincses:
The cracking choir

Lomo, lubitel, smena. These words cause intensive joy if vocalized carefully, half-whispered, half- cryed into the wind, out of the train-window, these words, lomo, lubitel, smena. It's effects are similar to those of the shaman's words, their repeated scanning with an increasing speed leads to total extasy, lomo, lubitel, smena, lomo, lubitel, smena, and so on. Until, everybody together cries out: we believe in the paramounce of camera obscura!

Feel free to try it! And if it works for you, too, let me invite you for some thinking: only good things can be achieved with such a lusciously-named object! Kóczán, Demeter, Major - the KODEMA from TEKODEMA - are examples to prove me right. TE is different, for him to poke his nose into the chatter of everyday reality with a cultic object is not enough. It is not enough for him to invent what and how to say, he insists on finding the means himself. And this is exactly how it should be.

And I think TEKODEMA is a wonder of the world in itself. Not jut because four students from Eger grouped up in 1996 to form a creative association. A number of similar groups have been founded around the tables of pubs, in the smoke of cafes, or in the rooms of community centers, reserved for this very purpose. Great plans, vibrant energies, and early successes were in abundance … and then. Well, there are a lot of important things on earth, like establishing a decent way of existence, family, own apartment, friends, et cetera. The photo-historian can only scratch the back of his head, and wonder, what happened to STB Group, Foton Group, The Dokumentum, Nadar Studio, Gödöllo Studio, Esztergom Photoclub, the Socio-photo camp of Nagybaracska, or other organizations that started out with great expectations, and functioned for a while before fading into memory.

Now, it is exactly ten years since four talented and skilled singers teamed up to form a male-choir. They have very different personalities. Their objects (lomographies, lunaphotographies, etc…) - realized with methods old, ancient or sometimes new, but certainly photographic - give a distinctly more detailed picture of their share of the world together, then they would give without each other. They are interesting separately too, but it's something different together. We might call it a statement. A proof that one does not need to be blown by every wind. A proof of the possibility, that four individuals can work and play together for more then a decade. Out of spite! The four singers sing in unison, or sometimes their voices break. Not that it's a fault. On the contrary. I prefer the personal, private feel of the slightly stumbling voices to the mechanistic perfection of skilled vocal. And if one of the four should sound off-key, the other three still saves the day. This is one of the great advantages of singing together, next to the joy of belonging together of course. No one knows this better then they themselves, that's why they accept so many collective performances, though solo-carreer offers have tried to seduce them. Fortunately without success, until now. But let's take a look at the members of this cracking choir!


A reckless chase of technical imperfection is the most characteristic of the works of Lajos Major. I can almost see the mischievous smile on his face when working on his camera obscura made of a tin can, to destroy the portraits of his friends and colleagues - future enemies. I can see him use his Lomo with great care to produce portraits with half their heads cut off, and see him fidgeting with Lubitel, that has its lens set to eternity. His pictures are deliberately accidental, imperfect, to the great pleasure of his audience. At least one of them, that's for sure.


Kóczán Gábor is different. He might even use a proper camera occasionally. He is not afraid to take a picture of what he sees in viewing lens, and some of his pictures are even in focus. But then why is he TEKODEMA? Good question, though I wouldn't have asked, if I did not know the answer. It's because he, like the other three, has photography in his guts, and is quite sure of what he does not want to do with it. All the rest can have a take.


It's a blasphemy to document a wedding with a Lomo. Ádám Demeter is into tempting God. This masquerade-like play-acting, called wedding became elevated onto a timeless level by this camera. It's not about the marriage of Pál Kiss and Júlia Gerberák, but a never-ending show, that has been going on since the world's been turning, and Demeter only adds some of his pictures to its long orbit. And then it's not a wedding anymore, but a piece of photography, and a very good one.


All members of the choir flirt with fine art. Demeter has a knack for painting, Major, Kóczán works as a graphic designers, while Balázs Telek, starts to paint when he should make photos, and starts to make music, when he was supposed to paint, and I am sure, he is solving art-philosophical problems, while sitting among the members of his band, playing the conga. One can only wonder, when he finds the time to take those camera obscura photographs that make a fool of traditional space and time conventions.

I wish a long and peaceful old age to all the members of this choir, and a lot of happy singing together, until their voices hold out.


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