Photographer's Note

In the 1930s, Hungary allied itself with Nazi Germany and was occupied by German troops when war spread throughout Europe. In 1945, the Soviet Union removed the Nazi regime and helped establish a socialist republic, part of the Warsaw Pact nations behind the Iron Curtain. Although the communist government of Hungary was initially nationalist and not in lock-step with the USSR, a revolt was crushed in October 1956 and Hungary was yanked back into the fold.

It wasn't until late 1989 that communism lost its grip on Hungary and a socialist government took power. Hungary had long been neutral ground were separated friends and families from East and West Germany could meet, but the 1989 demilitarization of the Austrian border caused an influx of East Germans who seized the opportunity to flee to the West. This was all part of the overall softening of the Soviet sphere during glasnost, but this Hungarian contribution led to the fall of the Berlin wall and ultimately to the fall of the DDR and the re-unification of Germany.

Like any other Eastern European capital, Budapest was littered with Soviet statues and monuments: statues of Marx, Lenin, Engels, and other Communist leaders, as well as monuments to various communist committees and to the proletariat at large. When the Communists lost power in 1989, suddenly these statues were no longer so popular, and Budapest lost no time in moving them from their prominent locations throughout the city. But what to dowith them? Enter Szoborpark (Statue Park), a smallish park on the southwest outskirts of Buda, where visitors can pay a small fee to browse these fallen icons -- and don't forget the gift shop, where you can buy all sorts of kitschy commie merchandise!

I was excited to see Szoborpark the instant I found the ad on the back of the city map we got at the hotel. The easiest way to get to the park is by shuttle bus, which leaves from the bus stop across from the Deák tér metro station. Unfortunately, the bus leaves at 11 AM, which means harsh lighting. The weather was also pretty overcast, making for even less fantastic lighting. Finally, although the statues are great, the park layout is pretty no-frills: the statues are laid out on unsophisticated circular brick walls, and there is little attempt to screen out the sparse suburbs beyond the edge of the park.

In order to try to salvage the photo opportunities, I turned to digital infrared. For this shot, I used my custom white balance to counter the red cast normally created by the R72 filter. I then used the Hue/Saturation function in Photoshop to return a blue hue to the sky, then further changed the hue to take some of the magenta out of the grass. Finally, there was a billboard in the background along the fenceline; I (somewhat crudely) used the clone stamp to get it out of the scene.

For another view of the park, please see the companion image on my TrekLens account:

Davidh34, alessandro_1981, manub has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Christian Deichert (cldphoto) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 28 W: 0 N: 51] (180)
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