Imre ZALKA (photographer, bohemian)
Léna ZALKA, Zsuzsi UJJ
Attila AGÁRDI, Gábor BARÁTH, Jenő DETVAY, Imre DRÉGELY, György DURST, Kálmán FEHÉR, de Gábor FIALA, Aliona FRANKL, János FEJÉR, János Dániel FODOR, László GÁLOS, Lajos GOMBOS, Zoltán GYETVAI, István HALAS, Gabi HALÁSZ, Judit HORVÁTH M., Radu IGAZSÁG, Marianna KISS, Péter LACZKÓ, Dóri LÁZÁR, Lugo László LUGOSI, Zsolt NEMÉNYI, Gábor PÁLINKÓ, Péter PETI, Bence PINTÉR, Péter RÓNASZÉKI, György STALTER, Maya SZABÓ, Bianka SZEMENYEI, Sándor UJVÁRI, Tamás VARGA, Miklós VARGHA, Tibor VÁRNAGY, Magdolna VÉKÁS, Attila VENCZEL, Eszter WALTON, Tibor ZÁTONYI
Gold monoiodide (AuI) is an easy-to-produce, slightly light-sensitive compound with no particular practical benefit. Although it was tested during the dawn of photography, the endeavor was conceptual rather than a practical one: blending the noblest element, gold, with alchemy-inducing iodine, was a beautiful but fruitless experiment. Shadowed by the success of silver-based photography, the attempts were soon forgotten.
In 1955, however, a few kilos of a compound were born in Székesfehérvár, whose exceptional sensitivity immediately impressed its creators. They knew what an exceptional miracle they had created, but they did not argue with the official position: Au6I3 does not and cannot exist. When patenting the compound, they reverted to alchemy, and marked the indefinable molecule with the letter “Z” for gold. Z6I3 stayed hidden for a long time; only a handful of photographers and artists came across it by accident. Until the 1970s, it was hidden in a local Fényszöv laboratory, where it was used for developing ordinary family and amateur photographs, but its existence could not be kept secret forever. At first, Z6I3 was used mainly as an additive for color technology. The news of the quality and depth of the images produced with this technology soon spread. More and more people were looking for the compound, and its addictive nature, so to speak, soon became clear. Anyone who came in contact with Z6I3 received a burst of energy: the compound opened up unknown horizons and gave inspiration to more and more photographers.
Finally, laboratory experiments in Budapest revealed that although Z6I3 improves all photographic chemicals, it yields the greatest results when used with archaic techniques. Cyanotype, argentotype and wet collodion were virtually reborn thanks to the discovery. Moreover, Z6I3 affected not only photographic methods, but also the photographers themselves: the concept of the traveling photographer re-emerged in Hungary. Z6I3 has been present for decades at all important workshops and art festivals, and it frequently appears on village days and in photo history presentations as well.
The exhibition celebrating the 63rd anniversary of the discovery of the Z6I3 features works that were made with, influenced by or created in honor of Z6I3.