In his own words

In retrospect

„I lived through 75 years of the last century as son of a respected family of Pecs in Southern Hungary amongst greatly fluctuating conditions. The carefree and happy childhood spent in bourgeois affluence was put to a cruel end by the war and a prisoner-of-war camp. Everything we had was lost (got stolen), then even our rummaged house was robbed of us under the name of “socialisation”; even my doctorate became worthless, since the dictatorship of the red bandits degraded me, due to my birth into a “class enemy”…

Due to my upbringing and to my take on life, it was after this that the words “NOT TO GIVE UP!” – words never declared, never written down – became the guiding principle of my life. Not to give in, not to let myself slip down the ladder, live in debauchery, or even God forbid, to commit suicide due to “these”, not even to defect the country (family members in Vienna and the US awaited me with apartments), but, despite all to stay in my home town and raise our sons here.

Yet one had to make a living, and I had to support my parents, too. I started working as a sign painter-graphic artist (in those time we wrote everything by hand with a brush, which seems unimaginable today) and with two diplomas under my belt I managed to finish the apprentice-school for photographers: I became an apprentice photographer (too). Beautiful and successful decades of photography followed until, as a “Hon. Golden Eye” recipient, cataract managed to finally to tear the dream-machine out of my hands, the complete Hasselblad-set finally bought for the “end of season” – a machine that, in photographic circles is regarded as the “Rolls Royce of cameras”.

One could be bitter, one could chide fate, but for what? As a playful twist of fate, it was just a few days ago that my greatly respected and good friend, the excellent sinologist and pedagogue gave me the sole reasonable-heartfelt consolation and “absolution” for the life’s journey of this three quarters of a century. “Think about it – he said, laying his hand on my shoulder – how much less eventful, less colourful your life would have been if everything had gone according to plan? Following the footsteps of your excellent grandfather, you would be an acknowledged and much-envied barrister, yet, in Pecs, not even a “star barrister”: for that you would have to live in Budapest. You are a lawyer with a golden diploma anyways, and, apart from that, a photographer acknowledged by UNESCO with the AFIAP title, a founding member of the Mecsek Photography Club, etc. – and who could boast more than the Lifetime Achievement Award, a prize that was won for the first time in our city?”

Dr. János Szász, 2000.