In his most recent photography series, Zoltán Vancsó invites us on an imaginary journey.

The series begins with a landing, but after seeing the first few pictures, it becomes clear that this is not one single journey, since the photos were taken in places all over the world. It is not the location and not a concrete social or cultural phenomenon or observed characteristic that is presented and which connects the images, but the “Vancsó perspective,” which is almost a concept in itself: the gaze which creates perceptible reality anew and shows us unusual connections.

This picture-making situation – the snapshot – is the most traditional basic starting point of photography. The photographer records un-arranged reality with his instrument; in other words, he documents. Since the topic appears to be right there waiting for him to seize it, he has no other task than to select, to choose those elements from reality that he wishes to point out to his audience. This is the factor that is imperative from the perspective of a documentary image: the exact specification of the topic and the message conveyed through it.

But in Vancsó’s photographs, the topic itself loses its importance and becomes dissolved in the whole of the composition. All of the motifs become one element in the system of the picture and appear to serve this. Everything in the photos – the landscapes, the objects, the people – combines to form a picture with such unlikely perfection, that they seem to be the set, props, and actors in an imaginary play.

Zoltán Vancsó works his great magic by compelling the apparently inexorable forces of surrounding reality to serve him, even if only for a fragment of a second while he takes the picture. With his own perspective he creates order in the rather tattered fabric of the world, which is inevitably complemented by the viewer’s own experiences. This is how the message, how the resolute opposition of the photographs becomes clear, in contrast to an unsteady, inhuman existence.

Virág Böröczfy is an art historian working in Hungary.

Lens Culture discovered Zoltán’s Vancsó’s work at the House of Photography in Budapest while attending the Fotóporta portfolio review, held February 2010.