Papp Elek

Thouhgts about Elek Papp's works


An Exclusive Interview with the Photographer Elek Papp

The interview is downloadable in PDF form.


An Altruistic Supporter of our Cultural Diplomacy
In the time of digital photography, as a consequence of technological development the number of photographers has increased dramatically. The extensive spreading of digital photography makes a lot of people try their real or presumed artistic inclinations. However, the professional forums of international photographic competitions still honor qualified expertise and and talent, helping laics - like me-, interested in arts, to find their ways more easily.

Arriving with a huge arsenal of expertise and know-how, Elek Papp „has burst into” both national and international photography in the past 4-5 years. His achievements are fascinating and would be enough even for a life's work, since the young artist in his 40s has taken part with his juried artistic photos in 343 collective exhibitions in 14 countries since 2002. His talent has been rewarded with 148 prizes in 25 countries ( and this list is increasing day by day). After all these it is not accidental that after 2005 he was awarded the title of THE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR again in the next year, too and he was invited to be a member of PSA by the Association of American Photographers. His name is among L.M.O. Top 20 in „Who is Who in the Photography 2005” statistics of PSA Journal .

The young photographer, born in Nagykõrös (Hungary), is an engineer, a teacher, a qualified optopmetrist and a contactologist by profession, who was given a chance for inrtoduction in Mexico after having met each other by chance. As a diplomat of Embassy of Hungary in Mexico City, which has done its best to help Hungarian culture to become known in Latin America, I myself urged his own exhibition, too.

The exhibition entitled „ A Master and his Follower – István Tóth and Elek Papp” also was a great success in 2004, which was organised on the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations. A lot of moments of his artistic experiences during his 3-week stay in Mexico recur in this photo album, in connection of which I can arrogate some right to call myself (a litle bit self-importantly) a co-author (remembering the memorable photo hunt in the way between Mexico City and Guadalajara).

In what way Elek Papp's works are original and different from all others? I was thinking a lot about these questions seeing the unaniomus enthusiasm of representatives of a totally different culture. I believe, the greatest attraction of his photos is the message itself, „creating a human-centered world for and around himself , which can be comprehended as a portrayal of society – in black and white.” - as he says. His artistic confession is: „ each picture should have its own message in the spirit of the trinity of content, form and technique, where the world of forms and the technical development should strengthten the content.” First, I personally was touched by his coloured photos, the variety of themes and the „sharpness of sight”, I associated immediatelly with his profession. He works on the basis of srtict rules of classical photography, whose commom language is normally black and white, but „if I think the harmony of colours important, I call also colours for help.” – the artist underlines. Besides having their political and economic roles our embassies are a kind of fortresses of cultural diplomacy especially in the faraway countries of the world. In the times with limited finantial possibilities chances are rarely given to show the internationally acknowledged works of Hungarian contemporary arts in Latin-America. That is why I highly appreciate the activity of the artists and artistic groups who –like Elek Papp -have helped the cultural work of our embassy in the past years.

Csaba Pólyi
Ambassador of Hungary in Mexico
Titular college teacher


He has a good eye to people
Extracts from the article written by Ádám Koltói

You may think unusual that I approach towards Elek Papp not from his art but his profession. The reason, why I don't discriminate betwen them is that the means of both are eyes, themselves. So to say, one of his eyes is on his profession and the other one is on his arts. He lives in the world with open eyes, his eyes are caught by humans and humane, his eyes advise his heart.” In the Hungarian language the word „person” – személy in Hungarian originates from to the word szem, which means „eye”. The connection in the meanings of the two words can chataterise his artistic work best and leads us to the main inspitation, object and goal of his art: the human.

His art is human-centered. Not only his figures, but his landscapes and objects are human-faced. Each of his works could be subtitled with the sentence „Ecce homo”. His confession and efforts are acts of a humanist at the same time. Elek Papp deeply believes that each person is an independent world, a unique specimen who should be found and brought to us. This is a kind of sincere identification from the bottom of the soul.

It is always human that plays the main role in his works, even if they show objects or landscapes.The method, he works with is called „humanisation”. Landscape-is a symbol, expressing human feelings. Inner and outer fields are objectifications of thoughts and feelings. Let me recall two of Elek Papp's photos: roots holding downwards to ground and a hightower building streching towards the sky. The first might be the strong eternety of life and the other may be the symbol of soaring variety.

Is it all about Elek Papp? Yes, but also about István Tóth. A master and his follower, to be more exact, a follower and his master. They have a special relationship. Both spiritual and 'father and son'. I can recall a meeting in Elek Papp's workshop. We were three: the two photographers and me talking. I was observing their conversation and their gestures. Like a spring and a river, different and still the same. Their cooperation, co-breathing is extraordinary.

I have been talking to Elek Papp several times and I have seen his photos a lot of times. I am trying to summarize the experience of catharsis and formulate the essence of his art in one word. In my opinion it is harmony. Harmony as it was seen by ancient Greeks:consonance between inner order and outer effects. And let me complete it with synonyms given by Elek Papp: quietness, optimism, wisdom, love and purity.

I am not a psychologist, only curious about the sources of the excellent characteristics of his. I think these are: philanthropy of a person with strong family traditions, love to profession, commitment to work hard and God-given talent. All these make him a great artist.

Ádám Koltói