If André Kertész (1894 – 1985) had followed his family’s wishes, he would have been a stock broker his entire working life, and the world would have been bereft of his experimental and unorthodox contributions to photography.
And even when he did make a name for himself, he was often told that his photographs ‘spoke’ too much, as the editors of Life magazine told him in 1937.
But Kertész knew what he wanted to do and what he was good at, and after teaching himself photography at an early age, he went on to photograph the local Hungarian countryside, his experiences in the trenches during World War I, and later on when he moved to the U.S., his experiments with shadows and distortion mirrors.
Kertész sadly never achieved the critical acclaim and fame he desired for most of his career, and his struggles to speak English and be accepted by critics and audiences let him feeling excluded for most of his life. Kertész was also criticised for being more of a spectator than a commentator in his images, and his photographs being apolitical didn’t work in his favour during the two World Wars. However despite the absence of any strong comments or accolades from critics, Kertész is still considered to be the father of photojournalism and many years later his images still inspire with their simplicity and timelessness.
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