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Ata Kando (Budapest, 1913) is the daughter of Hungarian parents, writer Margit G. Beke and professor dr. Imre Görög. The acquisition of her present name is a complex story (Ata came from her first name Etelka, Kando is the name of her first Hungarian husband). She left for Paris in 1932 with her first husband, the painter Gyula Kando. After the war she was an assistant at the Magnum photo agency. Later she worked for Paris fashion houses and continued to do so after accompanying Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken to the Netherlands, whom she married in 1954.
In 1956 she together with her colleague Violette Cornelius photographed the thousands of refugees fleeing after the defeat of the Hungarian revolution of 1956 on the far side of the Austria Hungary border, the side that ensured escape and security. That same year she published the 'Rode Boekje zonder Naam' (Red book without a title) in support of Hungarian refugees. The entire proceeds of which, half a million Dutch Guilders, she donated to the homeless refugees. The Nederlandsfotomuseum Rotterdam on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising 1956 published a reprint of the photo book.
In 1957 her book "Droom in het woud" ("Dream in the forest") was published, a photo-fantasy featuring her children. In 1961 she went on a trip through the Amazon region and she became fascinated by the Indians. She returned to the area in 1965 for a lengthier stay. Exhibitions and publications featuring her photographs (also a book "Slaaf of dood"/"Slave or dead" published in 1970) played a significant part in informing the world about the destruction of the Amazon Indians and their culture. Ata Kando taught photography at the School of Graphic Arts in Utrecht and the AKI Academy in Enschede and she assisted many students, including well-known Dutch photographers Koen Wessing and Ad van Denderen. See also Fire beside the sea ...
Ata Kando's motto: "Regardless of where in the world I have been, I have felt that whenever I wasn't taking pictures, I was wasting my time."
Droom in het Woud by Ata Kando exhibition Naarden Epson Photo Festival 2007
Eva Besnyö in 1998, photo by Leo Erken
Eva Besnyö (1910-2003)
In 1930, 20-year-old Eva Besnyö left Budapest to develop her photographic talents in Berlin. The Jewish Hungarian immersed herself in the stormy cultural and political life of those days and took a great number of her most beautiful photos. By 1932, the worsening political climate made her leave Berlin. She moved to the Netherlands, together with her eighteen-year-old Dutch boyfriend John Fernhout.
In the 1930s, Besnyö enjoyed photographic fame in Holland and moved in the artistic circles of Fernhout’s mother, the painter Charley Toorop. During the war she was initially in hiding, but with help from the underground, she succeeded in obtaining a ‘gentile transformation’. From that moment on, she personally participated in the resistance, forging identity papers and other documents together with graphic designer Wim Brusse. They were married in 1946 and had two children, Bertus (1945) and Yara (1948).
In the 1950s, Besnyö was a much sought-after photographer. The following decade she fell into relative obscurity, but at the age of sixty she made a remarkable comeback as the photographer of the feminist movement Dolle Mina.
When she displays her favourite photos at the Rosa Spierhuis in Laren, the Netherlands, the vast majority appear to originate from her Berlin period.