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A project by Big Hope: Erhardt Miklós / Dominic Hislop.
Between July 1997-February 1998, 40 disposable cameras were given to homeless people in Budapest. Each participant was asked to take pictures of whatever they felt to be interesting or important in their everyday experience and later interviewed about the results. Scroll down to read more info or click on the words 'inside out' above to enter the full site in English.

Ezeket a képeket Budapesten élõ hajléktalanok készítették, egyszerû, eldobható fényképezõgépekkel, az elmúlt több mint fél év során. A munkához semmiféle tematikus jellegû instrukciót nem kaptak. Az elkészült képek alapján minden résztvevõvel rövid interjú készült.
Klikkelj a "Saját szemmel" cimsorra a magyar változathoz!

Participant Photographs & Interviews

The 'Saját szemmel/Inside Out' project began in July 1997. Between then and February 1998, around 40 homeless people living in Budapest were given simple colour disposable cameras and invited to take photographs of whatever they felt to be important or interesting in their everyday experience, in the knowledge that their pictures would later be viewed publicly as part of an exhibition and web site. The participants were approached on a fairly random basis in the city's metro stations and homeless shelters. When the prints were ready we recorded an interview with each photographer about their pictures. Through the support of our sponsors we were able to recompense the participants for their work.
Picture selection was made on the basis of each photographer's personal preference with the exception of a few photos which were regarded by us as being important. Each photograph is credited to and commented on by the person to whom the camera was given even though in many instances that person chose to be the subject of the picture. Some pictures appear without an accompanying text as in a few cases, once the photos were printed, we were unable to find the photographer to record their comments. We didn't modify the language used in the interviews to conform to a grammatically correct standard and where possible tried to translate peculiarities into the English texts. Within the texts, unless otherwise indicated, the comments in parenthesis are those of the interviewer.

The work was presented in two exhibitions. One was in the the established art context of the Budapest Galéria, (Budapest III., Lajos utca 158.) Around 100 colour photographic enlargements (3 to 4 pictures by each participant) were exhibited along with their corresponding comments. The exhibition was opened on 19 March 1998 by Sándor Kardos , filmmaker and curator of the Horus photographic archive, and ran until 19 April. A 20 page black and white catalogue including at least one photograph and text by each participant was available during the exhibition.
All participants and social workers were invited (about half attended) to this opening as well as the usual gallery mail out circle. Although it was our status as artists that got the show in the gallery in the first place, we tried to deflect attention away from us so that on the posters and invitations, the main focus of attention was on the photographers names and when radio and television stations sent reporters to the opening, we duly passed them on to speak to the creators of the work. To have homeless people as the artists on show, proud and actively responding to the reporters questions created quite an unusual and provokative situation in what is usually quite a guarded elitist and apolitical art scene. The show was a big success, gaining a lot of media attention, pulling in more crowds than normally come to the gallery in a year and was subsequently extended to allow more people to see it.

The other exhibition was held two weeks later from 2 - 5 April in the main hall of the FSZKI Dózsa György út homeless shelter, the largest homeless hostel in Budapest. Whilst there were issues relevant to art in Hungary that made it important to show the work in the context of an art gallery, we felt it was equally if not more important that the work be shown in a homeless context so that it could easily be seen and reflected upon by more people in a similar position of homelessness and so that visitors from outside the hostel would have to step in to this unfamiliar and somewhat uncomfortable context to see it. The content differed in that the full interview transcripts and ten smaller sized pictures by each participant were exhibited. The opening was more of a screening and discussion event in which two TV programmes about the project were screened. One was an arts programme which featured an art theorist critiquing the work and the other was a half hour documentary, made in collaboration with Sándor Kardos, for 'Háló', MTV1's social documentary series. It features many of the project's participants discussing both their own and others photographs and a short film directed by one of the photographers, László Hudák. A lot of the participants attended and contributed towards a lively discussion with us, each other, residents from the hostel, social workers and people from outside about the project and homelessness in general.

In the effort to take the work to a broader public, 1000 editions of a collection of 20 postcards featuring the work of 20 photographers were made and given to Hungarian homeless foundations to be sold. This web site was also made to document the full interview texts and ten photographs from each participant. A presentation and discussion event was held at C3, the Centre for Communication and Culture, to mark the completion and opening of the site.

The exhibition has subsequently been invited to show in a number of cities across Europe. In 1999, it was part of the ‘Kunst der neunziger Jahre in Ungarn’ (Hungarian Art from the Nineties) exhibition at the Akademie der Künstler in Berlin and was shown in Aarhus, Denmark at IMAGE photographic gallery. It was part of the 'After the Wall: Art and Culture in post-Communist Europe' exhibition which opened at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1999 and later toured to Budapest and Berlin in 2000. It was included in 'Cooperativ', in Ulm, Germany at Stadthaus Ulm in July 2000.

After the completion of the photographic project in 1998, Miklós continued to work with one of the photographic project’s participants, László Hudák and his circle of friends, the ‘Tequila Gang’ on the making of a film. The one hour long film, part fiction and part documentary, was directed and filmed on video and super 8 by and László and social worker, Lénárt Imre, and produced by the Balázs Béla Studio, Budapest. ‘Tequila Gang’ was premiered in the competition section of the 30th Hunagrian Film Festival in 1999. It has since been screened at various European film festivals (Split, Sienna, Oberhausen) as well as being shown alongside any subsequent exhibitions of the ‘Saját Szemmel/Inside Out’ project. Funding for the project enabled László and the ‘Tequila Gang’ to move out of their homeless shelter and rent a flat together for a period.

Texts on 'saját szemmel/inside-out' by Miklós
‘Saját Szemmel’, Hajszolt Hírlap. (March-April 1998) p.58-60.
'Saját Szemmel, notes on a photo project', Törökfürdő.(Winter 1999) p. 2-4. (In Hungarian)
'The Structure of Avoidance ' (with Duna Maver), Subsol, Webzine - 'http://Subsol.c3.hu', (February, 2001).

Texts on 'saját szemmel/inside-out' by Dominic
'saját szemmel/inside out ' description (April, 2001) - not published
'Homeless project'  Written for a 'Shedhalle' magazine and web-zine which coincided with the ‘Moneynations: Border Economies’ conference in Zürich, (23-25 October, 1998).  

Other writings on 'saját szemmel/inside-out'
(in English):
Abildgaard, Dorthe. ‘Down and Out in Budapest and Vollsmose’ , India Art, [Apr 2001] 
Crouse, Charity, ‘Hungarian Homeless Capture Street Life’, StreetWise, Chicago, USA. (27 Oct - 9 Nov, 1998.) p.4. & p.21.
Coleman, Sam. ‘Life on the Streets Turned Inside-Out’, Budapest Week (2-8 April 1998) p.23.

(in Hungarian):
Bihari, László. ‘A Kenyérverő Ember’, Magyar Hirlap. (4 April 1998.) p.14.
Palotai, János. ‘Expó’, Élet és Irodalom. (17 April 1998.) p.18.
Schubert, Gusztáv. ‘Képtelenek’, FilmVilág (illustrations), (May 1998)
Tillmann, J.A. ‘A szélek észlelése’, Élet És Irodalom. (17 April 1998.) p.16.
Trencsényi, Zoltán. ‘Fényből Fabrikált Mindennapok’, Népszabadság. (20 March 1998.) p.29.

(in German):
Richardson, Joanne. 'Die O/Est-Ethik der Gegen-Dokumentation', in 46th International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen, catalogue (2000) p. 82.
Preuss, Rita. ‘Gulasch-Kapitalismus’, Zitty, (28 Aug 1999.) p.57.
Herbestreuth, Peter. ‘Zufallsfunde im zerstörten Haus’ Der Tagesspiegel, (30 Aug 1999.) p.29.
Suhr, Constanze. ‘Hungry Hungary’, Kunst. (30 Aug 1999.) p 76.
Tillmann, J.A. ‘Die Wahrnehmung der Runder’, Pester Lloyd. (3-6 June 1998.) p.1.

Publication of photographs and texts
Saját Szemmel / Inside Out. Photographs and comments, inVariant, (Spring 2000). Cover of supplement with text by Grant Kestler on Socially Engaged Art Practice.

Radio features (all 1998)
Petőfi Rádió, Kossuth Rádió, Budapest Rádió, Calypso and Juventus Rádió
Television features (all 1998)
‘72 Óra’, TV3.
‘Fehér Éjszakák’, Duna TV.
‘Déli Műsor’, ‘Háló’, ‘Napkelte’, MTV1.
‘Árnyékfogó’, MTV2.

Homeless in Hungary

Estimating the number of homeless is considered a problematic issue in both Hungarian and international literature. Difficulties arise from the definition of homelessness (i.e. who do we consider to be homeless?) and also from the heterogeneity and geographic mobility of this group. There is however an understanding of the increasing numbers of homeless in Hungary. It is estimated that around 20-50,000 homeless people live in Hungary, 15-20,000 of which are in the capital, Budapest.

Links to related web sites

* Communities for a sustainable future
* The Mad Housers photobook.
* Real Change News
* Shelter UK
* Z Magazine
* 0100101110101101.ORG
* Subsol
* Indymedia
* Big Issue links
* European Roma Rights Centre
* Roma Page
* Nettime


We are grateful to the following for their sponsorship:
MMSZ- The Hungarian Maltese Charity Service. 
HAJSZOLT Foundation- The Hungarian National Association of Homelessness. 
The Hungarian Soros Foundation. C3 - Centre for Culture and Communication. 
The British Council. 
The Cultural Committee of the Municipality of Budapest. 
Budapest Galéria 
The Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts.
PORST Fõfotó Ltd. 
Print info 
Agfa - Bayer Hungária Ltd. 
Partners Hungary Ltd. 
Peronreklám Ltd. 
MAHIR City-poster Ltd. 
Dob utca 97. Ltd. Wiz-Art 
Foto Zalka 
Karakter Studio

We are indebted to the following for all their help in making this project possible.

Vecsei Miklós, Kassai Melinda, Capusan Andrea, Dávid Judit, Gyuris Tamás, Sugár János, Peternák Miklós, Török Tamás, Tillmann József Attila, Krémer Balázs, Iványi Gábor, Gurály Zoltán, Gáncs Andrea, Oran Mc Cuirc, Kardos Sándor, Kincses Károly, Várnagy Tibor, Sükösd Miklós, Körösiné Egyed Orsolya, Papp Zoltán, Glósz Béla, Benedek Gáspár, Gróf Ferenc, Lendvai Ádám, Révai Gábor, Szebenyi Mariann, Lénárt Imre, Körösi Péter, Nagy Gabriella, Láng Imola, Mentes Tamás, Keresztúri Gábor, Tatár Attila, Sam Ainsley, Roger Palmer, David Harding, Francis McKee, John Calcutt, Tímár Katalin, Hecker Péter, Zalka Imre, Iványi Marcell, Polgár Sándorné, Maria Bredican, Helen Bartlett, Szabó Eszter Ágnes, Farkas Gabriella, Szövény Anikó, Detvay Jenő, Hangyál Judit, Eln Ferenc, Stefanics István, Tarnai Zoltán

HTML / Javascript:
Thanks to Benedek Gáspár - gbenedek@c3.hu

Oran McCuirc

Contact and other works.
Dominic Hislop / Erhardt Miklós - Project organizers

If you'd like to write to us or see more work by us, use the following links web site:

Big Hope: Erhardt Miklós / Dominic Hislop: www.bighope.hu e-mail: bighope [at] bighope [dot] hu