Ivan Benda
Tel: 06 20 / 944-1205



Iván Benda has been dealing with photography from the early seventies.

His lifework illustrates on a large scale the potentials hidden in photography, both in terms of its technical aspects and its topics. His nearly forty year career encompasses works from the analogue black-and-white era to the use of the most sophisticated digital and graphics software techniques of our time.

His works display a wide scope of interest, ranging from broader segments of portraits and advertisement photography to theaters, ballets and concerts, while finally creating a whole series of works of photographic art that cross over borders and are prompted by philosophy and history. The latter have been followed by several successful books, calendars and publications, like “The Living Jerusalem”, “Hungarian Memories in Italy”, the album “Fotó benda” that was awarded the Gutenberg Prize, or the “Olympics Calendar”, sponsored by the Hungarian Olympic Committee.

Having toured all over Europe as a musician, he has returned to his learned profession, photography. He started with portraits and took up photojournalism too; as a consequence he came out with a project that consisted mainly of a series of genre-photos, which resulted later in the publication of his album, “The Seventies”.

In the 1990s he created his own Photo Workshop where he prepared portraits as well as advertisements and pictures of mainly artistic nature.

Parallel to photographing the giants of the musical, theatrical and the literary world (e.g. György Solti, Zoltán Kocsis, Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern) he has worked for world renowned companies and brands, like Shell, Kapsch, Siemens, Ericsson, Sony, Johnnie Walker and Danone.

Following a series of smaller exhibitions in 1993 he staged his first individual large-scale exhibition at the Budapest Congress Center, the success of which has resulted in appointing him as the Center’s permanent photographer.

The following years witnessed him as photographing world celebrities, writers and other public figures, images of which have widely appeared in series of publications, books, or were topics of individual exhibitions.

At this period of his career he became immensely involved in theater photographing, thus he became the photographer of the National Theater and the Ballet of Győr, and has been hired by others, like the Thália and Új (New) Theaters, for instance. Pictures of this exciting world were too published in exhibitions, theatrical magazines (Ellenfény, Múzsa, Színház, Tánc etc.), in press releases and books.

He has been working in Israel continuously since 2000. Through his pictures made during nearly a decade, he perceptibly presents, among others, the coexistence of the three world religions in the Holy Land.


How many beginnings may there be in one’s life ….

A friend of mine has once asked me to make some shots about the scenery of the stage-play “Fiddler on the Roof”. This was the first.

How fast I am to recall. But it is not the way it happened.

My first theater photograph:

Moscow, the Bolshoi Theater. Spartacus. We were celebrating Khachaturian. Me with my fifteen years, the audience with standing ovation. I took my Smena (camera), and made a snapshot of the brilliantly illuminated theater’s chandelier…

I always wanted to become a singer. If I were to write about this beginning, my first sentence would go something like this: My Dad and Mom together ….well, they were listening to me at a “concert” in my kindergarten, where Jutka Soós and I were reciting the song “Szántódi híres utca” (the famous street of Szántód). Now, what a concert that was!


If I want to be honest, it is not me things started with. I know from my Mother, that Father made scenery designs for the movies of Ákos Ráthonyi, and also that my grandmother played the piano wonderfully. I do have some fading memories of all this, but let us leave it now.


My Mother told me many a times that I was born on a Tuesday, the 24 September, 1949, at 8:45 a.m. I checked: 24 September in 1949 was actually a Saturday.


It was an easy delivery.