Monday, Apr. 02, 2012

Martin Munkácsi

Fashion-photography pioneer Martin Munkácsi got his start as a reporter at a Hungarian newspaper, for which he had to take pictures of sporting events and athletes — including horses and racecars. So it shouldn't have been a surprise that after he transitioned to fashion and celebrity photography, he still focused on capturing movement. But a surprise it was: at the time, fashion photography was about stillness and poses. The self-taught Munkácsi introduced models who ran, who smiled, who weren't always ladylike dolls. His casual style, which reflected new ideas of femininity that encouraged 20th century women to be athletic and energetic, was soon in high demand. In the 1920s and '30s, his career hit a high point. Munkácsi's work influenced some of the era's best-known photographers — like Richard Avedon and Henri Cartier-Bresson — but he died in relative obscurity and poverty.