Photographer records her Hungarian journey

A PHOTOGRAPHER and academic living in Hampstead has been asked by the European Commission to host a major exhibition of her work

Ed Thomas

A PHOTOGRAPHER and academic living in Hampstead has been asked by the European Commission to host a major exhibition of her work.

Zsuzsanna Ardo will launch How Long Is The Journey? on Tuesday March 18 - a photographic show focusing on the Romany people in her homeland of Hungary.

Borbala Czako, Hungary's ambassador in London, will be guest of honour at the opening night of the exhibition at the European Commission building in Westminster.

"I've recently held an exhibition with Amnesty International and the photos caught the eye of the European Commission," said Ms Ardo, who lives in Maresfield Gardens.

"They asked if I'd like to transfer some of them to their own building, so that's what I am doing until March 28."

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The exhibition in Storey's Gate, just off Parliament Square, will be open to the general public and is free to view. It features a range of black and white photographs of Romany people and has been organised as part of the European Commission's Year Of Intercultural Communication'.

"I took the photos in Hungary and along the Danube in small villages," said Ms Ardo.

"It is a very multi-ethnic area with Serbians, Hungarians and Svabians. I wanted to include the gypsies from Romany because they have large communities living there too."

Having started out as an academic, journalist, writer and film maker, Ms Ardo's photography tends to focus on human relations. She tries to capture the interactions, shared moments and tenderness between people and her work has taken her around the world including Cuba, India and Europe.

"When I was in Hungary taking these photos, I found the Romany people so warm and welcoming," she said.

"It was a very interesting experience. I just found myself wanting to tell their story and describe the type of life they lead.

"I was not trying to particularly document their poverty. It's just my feeling that people relate to others through beauty, rather than through misery. So I was looking for moments which others might strongly relate to, such as children playing and people laughing together."

Ms Ardo has been living in Hampstead for the past 20 years and was the founder of the Hampstead Authors' Society. She is also a member of Bafta (the British Academy of Film and Television Arts) and the British Association of Journalists. She has dedicated the exhibition to her father Pal Ardo.

For more information, visit her website at