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László Kondor Photography Exhibition Reflecting on Conflict Opens in Kolta Galeria

Fanni Kaszás 2020.01.17.

A master exhibition of Hungarian-born photographer, László Kondor, who was a photographer in both the Vietnam War, and of a legendary Mayor of Chicago, will open on January 31st at the Kolta Gallery. The exhibition, titled ‘Leica on the Frontline (Chicago 1968 –Vietnam 1969-70),’ opens with a greeting by Katko Tamas, Art Director of KOLTA Gallery, and a conversation with the photographer will be moderated by Ditzendy Attila, journalist.

Hungarian-born photographer Kondor László, having lived in the United States for the latter half of the 20th century, returned to Hungary after the fall of the Iron Curtain – is now 78. He has spent much of his professional life documenting world events from the US Vietnam War with its inevitable anti-war violence on the streets, to the political halls of Chicago‘s Mayor Richard J. Daley (1902-1976). Not a stranger to conflict, Kondor survived and fled the 1956 Hungarian revolution.

László Kondor Exhibition Opens in Kecskemét – ‘Vietnam 50 Years Later, a Combat Photographer Remembers’

The ‘Leica on the Frontline’ exhibition looks at Kondor’s response to the conflicts he witnessed during his professional work as a photographer in three chapters. The trilogy of analog black and white images were created in the late 1900s.

The point of departure begins with a selection of work as a photojournalist in 1968 Chicago – ‘The Whole World is Watching.’  A counter-reaction is the work as a combat photographer in 1969 -1971 Vietnam – ‘Boots on the Ground.’  The finale – ‘Life Goes On’ includes images that reflect reality, lyrically with empathy and sensitivity for the Vietnamese civilians caught up in the conflict, such as the iconic image ‘Saigon Street Orphan 1970.’ The exhibition’s 70 works include 20 from the permanent collection of the NVAM, National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago.

photo: Vietnam Collection Images @ Laszlo Kondor, 1968-2020 all rights reserved

Kondor rarely exhibited his work, as the day-to-day pressure of creating photographs for the press, in publications, and in print may explain why.  The photographer was either directly commissioned by one or another magazine or client to produce their photos, or his photo-reports from the front lines of the Vietnam war were published in newspapers. However, Kondor had an instinct to horde and carefully maintained an archive of work from his 35-year career. Today, retired and living in Kapolcs, Hungary, Kondor is revisiting his archives to select images that illuminate his life in photography.

photo: Vietnam Collection Images @ Laszlo Kondor, 1968-2020 all rights reserved

Back in 2018, Hungary Today had the pleasure of sitting down with the photographer, who spoke at length about his adventurous life, the secret behind the “incredible” shots he managed to capture during the Vietnam War, and his decision, after nearly 40 years of work, to put the camera down and leave photography behind.

“I’m Going to Devour Life, not Stare at it Through a Lens”: László Kondor’s Life Behind and Beyond the Camera

The exhibition will run until March 6th, and in September 2020 it will travel to the NVAM in Chicago with a corresponding documentary film – ‘Out of a Darkroom, the Life of Kondor Laszlo’ by Endre Dózsa and the publication, ‘Kondor Laszlo, as I Saw It – Vietnam Era,’ edited by Máté Havasi.

featured photo: Vietnam Collection Images @ Laszlo Kondor, 1968-2020 all rights reserved