Contributor Bio: Zoltán Vancsó

Posted in Art, Photography
By Sam Bathe on 6 Sep 2010

Centric to our art section in FAN THE FIRE #35, Zoltán Vancsó’s Unintended Light feature was as striking as the photographer is expertly crafted. Art historian Virág Böröczfy, takes us through the images, after the jump.

In his most recent photography series, Zoltán Vancsó invites us on an imaginary journey. The series begins with a landing, but after seeing the first few pictures, it becomes clear that this is not one single journey, since the photos were taken in places all over the world. It is not the location and not a concrete social or cultural phenomenon or observed characteristic that is presented and which connects the images, but the ‘Vancsó perspective,’ which is almost a concept in itself: the gaze which creates perceptible reality anew and shows us unusual connections.

This picture-making situation – the snapshot – is the most traditional basic starting point of photography. The photographer records un-arranged reality with his instrument; in other words, he documents. Since the topic appears to be right there waiting for him to seize it, he has no other task than to select, to choose those elements from reality that he wishes to point out to his audience. This is the factor that is imperative from the perspective of a documentary image: the exact specification of the topic and the message conveyed through it. But in Vancsó’s photographs, the topic itself loses its importance and becomes dissolved in the whole of the composition. All of the motifs become one element in the system of the picture and appear to serve this. Everything in the photos – the landscapes, the objects, the people – combines to form a picture with such unlikely perfection, that they seem to be the set, props, and actors in an imaginary play. Zoltán Vancsó works his great magic by compelling the apparently ‘inexorable forces’ of surrounding reality to serve him, even if only for a fragment of a second while he takes the picture. With his own perspective he creates order in the rather tattered fabric of the world, which is inevitably complemented by the viewer’s own experiences. This is how the message, how the resolute opposition of the photographs becomes clear, in contrast to an unsteady, ‘inhuman’ existence.

About Zoltán Vancsó

Regarding his professional career, two personalities of a photographer have come to life in him. One tries to reflect reality as clearly and comprehensibly as possible. The other one, in contrast, acts in the opposite way; it takes pleasure in discovering the improbability of reality, and funny enough, it conveys this experience with an objective tool – with photography. His works of art are related to the classic trends of photography. His photos encourage reflection, and they raise innocent and meaningless situations of reality to the heights of extraordinary and mystic dimensions.

He has held nearly 40 exhibitions in Budapest, he regularly publishes albums, and his professional and lay audience is constantly expanding. His photo movie Oceans of Sigh – Cuba was shown in Budapest cinemas with great success as a short movie to accompany Wim Wenders‘ film. He has received several professional rewards. In 2004, he had an exhibition with William Klein in Budapest.

Check out Zoltán’s personal site at

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

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