In all honesty, this post should have probably been named a day in the life of the worst photographer in the world, but I kind of decided to make it more about other things, somewhat more important to the universe, than myself. Nevertheless, the day did start with a pretty awesome storm over the fair city of Budapest, like 1 AM early, a time when many people, with more stamina and purpose than myself were ready to shoot lightning bolts and such. I, on the other hand, was in bed adamant on a beauty sleep which is probably unnecessary, as being pretty won’t make you competent and frankly I don’t really stand a chance in either category.
Therefore no spectacular lighting shots for me, but at least I could compensate by doing a proper job at the opening of the Sziget themed photo exhibition in Budapest’s Capa Center. I could have, but then snacks happened, and a bubbly mineral water, and I had my hands full so I did not take pictures of: the curator of the exhibition, Gabriella Csizek, Sziget’s co-founders, Károly Gerendai and Péter Müller Sziámi and Mary Popkids plus a choir singing this year’s festival anthem.
It is most fortuitous, then, that other people have taken upon themselves the task of properly documenting this event for 24 years now. Perhaps most importantly, Imre Benkő has been taking shots at the festival since the very beginning, being in the unique position of an always present chronicler of this ever-changing phenomenon. The exhibition is thus mostly centred around his black and white snaps covering more than two decades of festival fever on Óbudai Island. Besides his work, the visitors can also indulge in a selection of more recent pictures taken by the festival’s photographers in residence, grouped together under the fitting moniker of Rockstar Photographers– this in spite of the fact that there are no pictures of the performers themselves featured in the collection.
These are not the stories of the Main Stage, instead, these are the stories of those who can’t find it, those who get lost on side alleys, those who always preferred the Hammerworld stage and are now sad, those who could only afford the cheapest beer, those who were looking for new friends, those who fell asleep and woke up two days later, those who did not see any of the bands they planned to, those who dressed funny long before the British onesie invasion, those who remember the days when the sponsor was the other soda, those who started coming as children and now grumble that they know none of the headliners yet keep on coming because they love it anyways.
The exhibition runs from July 12 to August 31, the entrance ticket is 500 forints, but in the second half of August it can be visited for free with a valid Sziget 2017 bracelet.