A Shell station along the Pápai Road in Veszprém in 1973. Photo: Fortepan / Uvaterv

‘Western goods in socialist Hungary’ – Weekly Fortepan articles

The Market of Inaccessible Goods

Let’s drop in the Budapest International Fair (BNV), browse and taste everything we can; after all, all the specialty products of the Western market debut there. Later, we should have some American refreshments in the bar after filling up our cars with Italian super-petrol and scented our bodies with French perfumes. But wait, where are we and which year is it again?
20. February 2022 13:28

This article is the fourth in the newly launched English-language blog by the Fortepan online repository of Hungarian photographs, and the full text with many photos can be seen at https://hetifortepan.capacenter.hu/en/the-market-of-inaccessible-goods/

The Fortepan digital archive collects and shares Hungarian photographs taken from 1900 to 1990, and currently contains 156,000 pictures. The collection, which does not exist in physical form, was launched in 2010. The archive comes under a Creative Commons licence and the richly illustrated series of articles is free for anyone to use, with due credit.

Fortepan recently launched an English edition of its weekly blog Heti Fortepan. The latter, in Hungarian, was launched in 2020 in professional partnership with the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center. The English-language Weekly Fortepan will be a selection of the Heti Fortepan series. Every second Wednesday morning an article in English is being published at hetifortepan.capacenter.hu/en. The three earlier articles can also be seen at this link.

The main entrance of the Budapest International Fair in the City Park in 1967. Photo: Fortepan / Magyar Hírek periodical

The archive, which is mainly supported by donations, is run by 10-15 editors working on a voluntary basis, and they try to decipher the content of the images on the FortePan megfejtések forum.

The collection is based on 5000 images collected since the 1980s from Budapest junk clearances. Over the past decade more than 700 donors have offered their photographs to the archive. At first it was mainly families but later photo documentation from companies and professional photographers also found their way onto Fortepan.

Fortepan volunteers simply digitise the images and return them to the donors. Fortepan is an edited archive, and about a third of the images received are uploaded, with editor Miklós Tamási looking for the “meaningful” ones.

The archive is named after the Fortepan negative film produced by the former Forte factory in Vác, which was very popular in Hungary. The blog is edited by Tamási and István Virágvölgyi, curator of the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center.

Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center

Nagymező utca 8, District VI, Budapest

Website: https://capacenter.hu/en/

Email: info@capacenter.hu

Tel.: (06-1) 413-1310

Leave a Reply