Photo: Late 1930s. - Photo: Fortepan / Andor Gara

Photo archive keeps growing with important donations

Some 150 donors contributed 15,000 photographs to the Fortepan online archive in 2021, including the legacy of film director György Révész, the aviation history pictures of Ferenc Nasztanovics and Milkó’s collection of local history from Szabadka (now Subotica in Serbia). Two important photojournalistic authors, Zoltán Szalay and Tamás Urbán, also added new frames to the site.

At latest count the Fortepan website – – displayed 159,694 photographs in total and has also been expanded with company archives, such as 5000 images from the Budapest Photo Company (Főfotó). Pictures of the Red Army in Budapest in 1945, the Budapest Dance School Archive and the World War I collection of the Austrian National Library are other notable additions to the collection.

Fortepan describes itself as a copyright-free and community-based photo archive. These are available for anyone to browse and download in high-resolution, free of charge. The website has earned the distinction of becoming “Hungary’s family photo album”.

It was launched in 2010 and initially contained photographs found randomly around various places in Budapest. The archive has expanded since then through donations from families, amateur and professional photographers, along with public collections. The images on the website are selected by editors.

The descriptions attached to the images are compiled and edited by volunteers, utilising information contributed at the Fortepan Forum. The editors gladly offer to process people’s photographs and negatives as well, and they can be contacted at

An English version of the Weekly Fortepan blog was launched recently and displayed the images of cameraman Sándor Kereki, which had been sitting in a drawer for 50 years. This initial article, “The Seventies in the Eyes of a Young Lad”, can be seen at –

The Seventies in the Eyes of a Young Lad

The second article has just been posted and is titled “Best of 2021, The 30 favourites out of 15,000 Fortepan images uploaded last year”. It can be viewed at –

The translated articles are a professional collaboration between the Robert Capa Kortárs Fotográfiai Központ (Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center) in Budapest and the Fortepan digital photography archive.

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