Inside The Blockade: Occupy SZFE
The students of SzFE (University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest) occupied the buildings of their university to protest the measures the government imposed on them, as a result of which the Board of Trustees deprived their university of its autonomy. The blockade lasted for 71 days during which students were continuously pressured by the new administration. Moments of exhaustion and hopelessness were shifted by moments of euphoria (e.g. 20,000 people participated in the national commemoration of the 1956 revolution organized by the students).
The community decided from early on not to let in members of the press. However I found it important that pictures are made within the blockade and so I started to use my camera - as a student taking part in the occupation. This is the only material that has captured from such intimate closeness the most significant – and perhaps the most courageous – Hungarian oppositional movement in recent years.
My aim with this project is to show how this heterogeneous community has united in a previously unthinkable way. Fatigue, anxiety and exhaustion have become part of life as participants pushed their boundaries but showed nothing of these towards the supporters, media and our critics. I tried to capture the moments that reveal the melancholic perseverance of students as they momentarily emerge from the spiritual, mental and physical noise.
Were we fearless? Brave? Maybe, but also definitely desperate and angry. Our sense of justice pushed us forward and helped defeat fear and uncertainty. Many were empowered by how the community resisted the will of authority. Our many supporters were encouraging us and said we gave them hope: it is possible to say no, to stand up for our rights and our truth – this is what we take away for after the blockade. Something changed for us: being just dissatisfied without taking any action does not work anymore. We now know a different level of fearlessness.
Honorable Mention in the 2021 edition of the International Photography Awards
39th Hungarian Press Photo - Photos of the year selection
Kiállítva / Exchibited at:
egyéni/individual - OSA Archive, 2022
csoportos/group - "Felemelt kézzel", Patyolat Próbaüzem, 2022