It’s not often that I get to see how a number of choices meld together to create something that actually works. Even more so when you’re making those choices in the hope that it will all come together but you know that it could just as well go completely wrong as go completely right. I’m jazzed. I struck lucky.
At lunch last week, the inimitable Mr F started waxing lyrically about this photograph he’d gotten as a birthday present. When explaining to me that it captured a Russian tank on fire in front of McDonalds on Blaha Lujza tér didn’t work, he pulled out his iPhone to show me another photo of WWII parachutists in the sky over modern-day Budavár. I still wasn’t getting it but infectious as his enthusiasm is, I knew it was worth following up. So when he sent the link, I clicked – and I began to understand what he meant by superimposing old photos on new.
Kerényi Zoltán started posting to this album earlier this year. Nothing much happened for a few weeks and then some blogger picked it up and it went viral. I must have been out of the country to have missed it. He gets some old photos, finds out where they were taken, goes back to the original spot, takes a new photo, and then inserts the old into the new. The difficultly is no so much finding the original places, apparently, but finding the right lens, angle, light to make the fit work. The result is this interesting take that gives you the best of both worlds – a window from the present to the past. Suddenly the juxtaposition of a burning Russian tank and the golden arch of McDonalds didn’t seem so implausible.
I have this inexplicable need for things to be signed. American author Evan Esar maintains that a signature always reveals a man’s character – and sometimes even his name. Perhaps that’s what intrigues me. Be it a book, a painting, a photograph, a ceramic ashtray, I want it signed by the person behind it. It makes it more real. And for signatures, you need matting. Trouble is, this word does not translate into Hungarian. Nor can you buy pre-cut matts in assorted sizes. There’s a market there for someone. And it’s nigh on impossible to find a readymade frame in Budapest that has not been made in China.
Getting photos or paintings framed in Budapest is right up there with tooth extractions on my list of least favourite things to do. Choosing the matting and the frame; deciding on the size, the look; taking the effect I want it to have out of my head and articulating it in such a way that I get what I want and praying that what I want actually works – that all adds up to stress. Bringing someone along for a signature (or a second opinion) is even more stressful as I’m likely to be talked into choices I know won’t work. But work they do. Am jazzed. Nice work Mr K. Nice work. Am so glad I ignored the denim blue.