FIAP GOLD MEDAL on 1st Pannonia Reflections in section Monochrome for photography OLD WOMAN
Jury member VINKO ŠEBREK wrote about photography:
High artistic and documentary value of the highly acclaimed Ištvan Virag’s photograph “Old woman” is testified by the fact that so far it has won 41 awards at international exhibitions and photographic salons of a similar character and rang all over the world. We’re talking about the photography with a social connotation, full of truth, strong expressiveness and narrative messages, about the photography with a deep symbolic and emotive charge or the photography of a high technical perfection that represents and interprets the existing state and the spirit of the time on an actual scene and motif.
By carefully reading the photography and author’s written thoughts we are coming to an understanding about his photographic approach and creative process based on a mutuality of experiencing and reflection of reality or to the knowledge of outer and inner world within himself as an author as well as within the observer of a photographic picture.
This photography has an abundance of information, symbols and metaphors of the reality at the same time, to which the author himself in his postscript to the photography indicates. This mutuality of the relations – inner and outer, reality and metaphor is exactly what makes the biggest artistic value of the paradigm of the photographic truth of this clip. This picture proves that, with the virtuality of a black and white photograph its accented artistic character, its sophisticated tone modulation of light and dark, morphology of the forms and definition of the shapes.
With congratulations to the author I finish my story about this interesting photograph that says more than thousands of words, above which muffled the screams of longings, sadness and pain and a thunderously loud silence of an infinity of an emptiness, loneliness and estrangement.
Also Ištvan told us a few words about himself and about awarded photo:
I was born on 8/18/44 in Batina (Croatia). Educator, a historical archivist, journalist. Lives in Sombor (Serbia). I’m a member of the International Federation of Photographic Art, of the World Association of Hungarian Photographers, of the Photo Association of Serbia, of the Photo-artistic Foundation “Moholy” in Baja (Hungary), as of the FKVK “Rada Krstic” in Sombor.
I started practicing photography in the 70’s of the last century. The first shots get published on the covers of the “Magyar Képes Újság” newsweek in Osijek (Croatia). Those covers gathered in a solo exhibition in Sombor in 2005.
Not long after a successful start I put down the camera, to get back to it after a thirty year long break. Other solo exhibitions follow: “The sky over the plain” (Sombor 2007 and Telecka 2011), “The Channel impressions” (Baja, Hungary, 2011, Sombor, Serbia, 2014), “Dream visions – photoabstractions” (Sombor, Serbia 2011 and 2012, Budapest, Hungary, 2014, Baja, Hungary, 2014, Subotica, Serbia, 2014).
I dedicates myself completely to photography from 2013, after ritirement. Since then I took part in 170 among national and international expositions, where I collected 90 prizes.
The photograph “Old Woman” was taken in 2013, and was awarded with 41 prizes since. It was shot unexpectedly. I suddenly caught a glimpse of something deeply touching in the scene: the age of the woman, loneliness, estrangement, no past, no future, just a moment in the meaningless present. Her look, empty as the wall behind her, the empty bed, and the cat resting at the end of the bed, like an archetype. In a vacuum between the continuance and the passing, with just the solitude in its most frightening form. The same thing, that in that moment so very moved me, was evidently recognized by others too. I like it, when the camera catches a moment – and there were many, from the intentional to the accidental ones, – because I think that photography must be considered as an open type medium, sensible to empathy and the humanity in our time of alienation, stratification and selfishness. With portraits being one my favourite themes, I always try to mark a moment when the inner truth of the person is reflected on its face.
Intimately I am keen on abstract photography, which I treat as the absolute form of artistic freedom. I normally exhibit such work on independent exhibitions, but I will gladly use this chance to show five pieces from my “Dream Visions” series, which was accepted with outstanding reactions that exceeded all my expectations.