Slovakia’s Famous Photographer Karol Kállay Passes Away

Karol Kállay died at the age of 86 on Saturday 4 August. He was the most famous Slovak photographer and documentarist, renowned for his reports.

Kállay was born in Čadca in north Slovakia on 26 April 1926. He studied economy and law at the university and started to work as a professional photographer in 1940. Two years later, he obtained his first award: a gold medal at a national exhibition of photographs in Bratislava. This was followed by an exhibition in Zaragoza, Spain. In 1954, he published his first book Slovenské rieky (Slovak rivers). From 1956 onwards, he organised his own exhibitions.

Karol Kallay

During his life, he published more than 35 photographic books, and organized about 80 personal exhibitions in Slovakiaand abroad as well. He worked as a press photographer, fashion photographer, portraitist and landscape photographer. He worked for the leading fashion magazines in Paris and Berlin, photographed for example for GEO Hamburg, Der Spiegel, Stern, Focus, Manager Magazin, Paris Match, Illustré, Sport International, Tutto Turismo and so on. He was a member of the renowned agency Bilderberg in Hamburg, of the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) and holder of the EFIAP (Excellence of the International Federation of Photographic Art) award given to him by the same organization. In 1992, he won the editor’s prize of the magazine GEO – Photographer of the Year.

His most famous publications were about Italy, Los Angeles, Slovakia, Tokio, Romeand Mexiko. The books Pieseň o Slovensku (Song about Slovakia) and Los   Angeles were distinguished by the UNESCO as the most beautiful books of the world. With his photographs, he tried to express what he saw and experienced, and also his thoughts by seeing things. With his work, he represented Slovakia throughout the word. He made photo reportages for example in Egypt, Thailand, Tunisia, Morocco, Australia, Cuba, USA, Yemen, Dubai and Indonesia.

He worked as a photographer for 30 years. In 2011, he was made honorary citizen of Čadca by the mayor of the town – with the occasion of his 85th birthday.

Karol Kállay was seriously ill in the last period of his life, but worked until the last moment, and managed to finish his life work, which should come out at the beginning of next year. A service in his memory will take place at 12.30 tomorrow at the crematorium in Lamac, Bratislava.



    The guy was a hell of a photographer. In a land frequently lacking in beauty and culture, the loss of even a single talented artist is a moment to be marked.

  2. slovakinNY

    If the comment of ‘moron’ was addressed to me then I suggest
    (1) read my temperate comment
    (2) have the courtesy to reply in an equally temperate way

  3. Sadly Alec, and as always , you never research your subject before you blindly blunder in .

    If this guy is a pal of yours and on your ` intellectual` planet …then I am very glad we have never met .

  4. George. Karol Kallay was a man of culture and artistic talent so it’s hardly likely that a person with your obvious intellectual and educational limitations would know or appreciate his contribution to photography.

  5. The guy was only BIG in Slovakia…every minor personality thinks they are so BIG in Slovakia . Shame no one brought him to light when he was alive .

    I have to laugh when I see TV chat programs , where `TV Stars` interview the same few TV starts on each other`s show and in the few TV Soap progs the same few actors all appear in the few differing soaps .

    As for the Olympics ….I see Slovakia obtained the dizzy heights of a second place Silver medal , but ironically in Shooting .

  6. david 🙂 you are a moron. there are many things you don’t know but those things are of an interest to others. you not knowing something (and it could be many things, probably even things others consider to be common knowledge) – means really nothing to the fact of the size of mr kallay as a photographer. on the other side.. i didn’t know that slovakia really has the highest long term unemployment. my guess were the titanic countries (greece, spain bla bla) – but hey – i learned something new. from you! and that is the point of news. learning new things! maybe tmrw you meet somebody who is big in photography and you can shine with your knowledge about karol kallay (or your lack of before the day you read about him). read, learn.. and shuddup with your stupid comment or i slap you. and i dont give a shit about olympics. didnt see one minute, didnt care one second. we’re all different. just be smart about your knowledge (and/or the lack of). so don’t advertise it

  7. Looks like now JB efforts are in the ,hu news site.

  8. Any link to see his work? I think this newspaper took some holidays in Croatia, that is why no many news lately.

  9. I know it’s August, but just one story today (and this one ? – no disrespect)

  10. This may well be of interest to the older, almost dead, Slovak community, but why would we as expats ever be interested in the death, or alerted by the funeral date or some unknown to us 86 year old photographer?

    Why not report on Slovakia`s Olympic success ( or there lack of ) , the Education Ministry checking the hand wringing Figeľs doctorate ( or lack there of ) or Slovakia’s waste management and long term unemployment are the worst in the EU?

    Is this website turning into the Readers Digest ?

    1. George – News items? Remember JB only has 20 or so staff members, its holiday time and its Slowvakia.

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