Kertész, André(kĕrtĕsh`), 1894–1985, American photographer, b. Budapest. His black-and-white modernist photographs often capture small, lyrical, and emotionally resonant moments while also formally exploiting the play of light and shadow, pattern, and depth of space. Kertész became a professional photographer after emigrating (1925) from Hungary to Paris and subsequently purchased a 35-mm camera, which allowed him to photograph everyday events on the Parisian streets unobtrusively. The small-format camera remained his favorite instrument throughout his long career. In Paris he also experimented with surrealistically distorted nudes, made many portraits of his artist friends, and contributed to various illustrated magazines. He moved to New York City in 1936, became a U.S. citizen in 1944, and took many sensitive photographs of his adopted city's street life. Kertész also worked as a commercial magazine photographer until the early 1960s. His work has been featured in several major museum retrospectives and in such volumes as Day of Paris (1945), André Kertész: Sixty Years of Photography (1972), and Kertész on Kertész (1985).
See studies by J. Corkin, ed. (1982, repr. 1993), S. Harder and H. Kubota, ed. (1987), P. Borhan, ed. (1994, repr. 2000), S. Greenough and R. Gurbo, ed. (2005), and M. Frizot and A.-L. Wanaverbecq (2010).
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Kertész, André(1894–1985) photographer; born in Budapest, Hungary. A photographer with the Austro-Hungarian army during the First World War, he came to Paris in 1925 where he inspired French photojournalists like Cartier-Bresson. Brought to New York by Keystone studios in 1936, he became a free-lance fashion and interiors photographer, landing a contract with Condé Nast (1949–62). In 1963, he returned to photojournalism, winning the New York City Mayors' Award in 1977.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.