Hungarian House of Photography

Budapest, Hungary


Anastasia Chukovskaya

The house of photography at Nagymező utca 20 has seen a lot throughout its history. The Neo-Renaissance building was constructed at the end of the 19th century for Mai Manó, Imperial and Royal Court Photographer of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Part of the house on the sunny side became his workplace, while the darker part was used as an apartment. In 1931, a Jewish couple bought the house and arranged a cathouse here named Arizona. Hydraulic podiums with striptease dancers were the know-how of the place. The show can be seen in Miss Arizona movie with Marcello Mastroianni directed by Pál Sándor in 1987. Today, nothing reminds of rough nights here. The place is a photography museum. Go upstairs to see the exhibition featuring works by prominent Hungarian photographers: photojournalist Robert Kapa and photo artist André Kertész. Best preserved is the antique carved wood staircase and a wide balcony. During restoration works, frescos were discovered under wallpapers. They served as background for portraits of Mai's wealthy clients. He took pictures of his heroes against the background of a painted marble balcony with a view over mountains and sea.


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