Siófok

©Stella Kalaw

Siófok is a town located in the southern bank of Lake Balaton, an hour's drive southwest of Budapest. It is a popular tourist spot and known for its beaches and mild climate. May was off season so we were glad to be in the company of locals rather than the usual tourist crowds. That afternoon we arrived, we had welcome drinks at Mala Garden where my brother made arrangements for an overnight stay. Zoltan, the manager, recognized him from his two previous trips and came over to chat. He recommended that we take the cruise around the lake. By the time we were on the boat, the sun broke from the clouds and we took pleasure in the warm light. The next day, we took a car ferry to Tihany and drove up the hill to a Benedictine monastery. We walked behind the church where we soaked in a panoramic view of the lake.

Found Photographs: Budapest

I was delighted to discover that the Hungarian House of Photography at Manó Mai's House was located around the corner from my brother's apartment in Budapest. On the second floor, they had a small bookstore where I bought these two photographs.

About the Manó Mai House

The eight-floored building was built in 1894 on the order of the photographer, Manó Mai. In 1931, Sándor Rozsnyai (a musical director) and his wife Mici Rozsnyal (née Senger, known as Miss Arizona) bough the building from the family. They built the three-floored Arizona club in the yard, which had been empty until then. This remained open until 1944, when the owners were probably killed by Hungarian or German Nazis. After the war, the building served a variety of purposes such as a school or a presentation hall. From the early 1960's the Budapest branch of Hungarian Automobile Club used it over a period of 30 years.

The Hungarian Association of Photographers was able to start buying the property rights from the residents. The Mai Mano Gallery opened on the half-floor in 1995 and the Hungarian House of Photography was launched by novelist/photographer Peter Nadas and opened on the first and second floors on March 18, 1999.