“The Kinetic Man”

Martin Munkacsi (1896-1963) began his photography career in 1921 while covering sports for the Hungarian newspaper Az Est. Largely self-trained, he served in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I and worked as a writer and reporter before becoming a full-time, professional photographer.
 

 

In his day, he was one of the most famous photographers in the world. His dynamic photographs of sports, entertainers, politics, and street life in Germany and Hungary from the late 1920s and 1930s, were taken in a new, freewheeling style that captured the speed and movement of the modern era. Many of those early photographs were published in German photo weeklies, where Munkacsi made his reputation doing reportage, often from exotic locales.

Munkacsi’s photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the International Center of Photography (New York), the George Eastman House (Rochester) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

In 1933, Munkacsi turned his energetic style to fashion photography, making images of models running on the beach. Those pictures revolutionized fashion photography with their informality and vitality. Soon after he was offered a contract by Carmel Snow, the editor of Harper’s Bazaar, and he left for New York, where he made his fame and fortune.

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