Imre Benkő



Born in Budapest 17 February 1943. He spent his childhood in a mining settlement in the Bakony. After receiving his high school diploma in Ajka, he continued his studies in Budapest, graduating from the photojournalism department of the Association of Hungarian Journalists (MÚOSZ) School of Journalism in 1971. Between 1968 and 1986, he was a photojournalist for the Hungarian Wire Service (MTI).

Already in 1963, he had learned about photography, taking part in both the training and work of the Studio of Young Photographers (FFS). From 1986 until 1990, he was a photojournalist and senior staff member at Képes 7, and then for Európa magazine; from 1993 until the present, he is a freelance photographer. For 12 years, up until 2000, he was a lecturer in Documentary Photography at the Hungarian Academy of Applied Arts.
From 1987, for nine years, he documented the systematic dismantling of the iron foundry in Ózd, and with this photo series, he won the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund (New York) Scholarship. His album, entitled Acélváros. Ózd 1987-1995 [Steel City], was published by Pelikán Publishers.
The visual interpretation of the real world, and an idiomatic documentative portrayal of man and his environment interest him. Testimony to this lies in a number of volumes: Szürke fények (Grey Lights, 2000), Arcok. Sziget fesztivál (Faces: Sziget Festival, 2003), Blues (2003).
Since 1988, with various scholarships – Kassák Lajos Photographic Scholarship, André Kertész, and HUNGART Scholarship – he has created, travelling to many countries of the world, where his interest was directed at people, and at the social and sociological structures. His album, entitled Utak (Paths, 2004) exemplifies this well.
On two occasions – in 1975 and in 1978 – he won gold medals at the World Press Photo competition.
He has featured at several hundred group shows with his work, from China to India, from the US to Esztergom; and he has had more than fifty solo exhibitions – from Bratislava to New York.
His work is held by numerous important public collections and private galleries: in Hungary, the Hungarian Museum of Photography in Kecskemét, the Historical Photography Archive at the Hungarian National Museum, the Contemporary Photography Collection at the National Széchényi Library, and the Körmendi-Csák 20th Century Hungarian Photography Collection; abroad, in Bradford (UK), Lausanne (CH), Michigan and New York (US).
He has received the Balázs Béla Award, and has been named a Pulitzer Memorial Prize-Winning Artist of Merit, as well as possessing a Grand Prize in Hungarian Photography, and an Award for Hungarian Art.

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Benkő Imre