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Stickybacks in Hungary

We are immensely grateful to János Mátyás Balogh, a Historian and Archivist from Budapest, Hungary, for sharing with us some of his research into the spread of Stickybacks in Hungary and across parts of Europe. János traces the origins of Stickybacks in Hungary to the arrival in 1911 of cousins of Brighton stickyback shop owner and furrier, Abraham H Dudkin. Dudkin's cousin's, no doubt primed with knowledge of the stickyback process from Brighton, opened a stickyback shop at 40 Rákóczi Street, in a very busy part of Budapest. The opening of this shop triggered a rapid spread of similar studios across Hungary and beyond. Stickyback shops in Hungary were given the name “Enyves hát”, a direct translation of the word ‘sticky back’ in Hungarian. Some stickyback shops in Hungary took the genre a little further, using a string or other simple device to enable the sitter, when ready, to fire the shutter themselves, giving something of an illusion of this producing an automatic portrait.

Not only does János show the connection between stickybacks in the UK and Hungary, he also discovered that, at one point, Anatol Josepho, the inventor of the Photomaton automatic photo booth, worked briefly in the stickybacks shop at 40 Rákóczi Street. From this János points out similarities between a strip of stickybacks and the strips of photos produced later by the Photomaton, also similarity in the sitter taking the shot, drawing the conclusion that the stickyback was almost certainly one of the influences shaping the iconic photomaton machine.

A shortened version of János' excellent paper "Anatol Josepho. From Stickyback Photography to the Invention of the Photomaton Photobooth" can be found here on the National Archives of Hungary.

Below are some example stickybacks from Hungary from the collection of János Mátyás Balogh, reproduced with his kind permission. The second image below shows a stickyback added to adorn the face of a postcard, postally used in 1912.

Example stickybacks from Hungary from the collection of János Mátyás Balogh


Stickyback added to Hungarian postcard, postally used in 1920. Reproduced with permission of János Mátyás Balogh

Top of page is a non-commercial web site for local and family historians, exploring smaller sized portrait photographs and those who worked in this trade.
This page was last modified: 26 October 2021, 19:00

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