The beginning: working for Jeff Cowen

Jeff Cowen and Csilla Szabó in the Cowen studio ©Bálint Meggyesi


I arrived in Berlin just after finishing a traditional photo school back in Budapest in 2007. I was exceptionally lucky, as two weeks after my arrival I began to work as an assistant for Jeff Cowen fine art photographer. I immediately fell in love with his amazing work, and his beautiful studio space, especially his darkroom! I spent seven great years as his assistant.

Apart from gaining a close friend and a mentor, I learnt much technical and ascetic wisdom under his guidance. Printing together his blanket-size photo murals, over the years I learnt how the highest perfectionism is best when joined with a playful attitude, how to use the highest-quality materials available while at the same time remaining inventive (there is almost nothing that cannot be solved with tape and pins), how to treat the negatives as holy objects, how never to be lazy about archival treatment and washing, how ruthlessly edit down a series of work, how (despite the conceptualism favored nowadays) to turn my thoughts off and listen to my intuition, how to trust my eyes and my inner sense of balance, how to work very hard for long hours, but at other times to slow down and take some distance for a clearer perspective – plus so much more.

And over those seven busy years, under his wings, I became a real fine-arts photographer and analog printer with an international clientele.

jeff cowen photo 7

Self-portrait by Jeff Cowen and Csilla Szabó (diptych), 55 x 98 cm, 2011, Edition of 6

jeff cowen photo 2

Jeff Cowen: Sophie L.V., 127 x 270 cm, Silver Print, Mixed Media, 2009, Edition of 3
Jeff Cowen: Nature Morte 9, 92 x 124 cm, Toned Silver Print, 2010, Edition of 1

jeff cowen photo 3

Jeff Cowen: Golshifteh, 127 x 205 cm, Silver Print, Mixed Media, 2006, Edition of 6
Jeff Cowen: Attacus Atlas, 127 x 163 cm, Toned Silver Print, 2009, Edition of 6

jeff cowen photo 4

Jeff Cowen: Nature Morte 1, 80 x 60 cm, Silver Print, 2010, Edition of 6
Jeff Cowen: Nature Morte 5, 127 x 161 cm, Silver Print, 2011, Edition of 6

jeff cowen photo 5

Jeff Cowen: Camille 1 and 2, Diptych, Each Print 127 x 172 cm, Gold Toned Silver Print, 2006, Edition of 6

jeff cowen photo 6

Jeff Cowen: Z-8, 61 x 81 cm, Silver Print, Mixed media, 2012, Edition of 1
Jeff Cowen: Cuba 4, 95 x 127 cm, Silver Print, Mixed Media, 2010, Edition of 6

Arja Hyytiäinen

Arja is a great photographer, excellent printer, and also a dear friend. I learnt a lot from her, and for years I have assisted her in printing her eerie, high-contrast photos. She works hard on her prints in the darkroom, having a very clear idea how the final prints should appear, so sometimes we looked … more

Edit Billinger: Notizen

Edit Billinger is a Hungarian writer, poet, literally translator, and photographer living in Germany. in 2013, whe she finished her studies in the Neue Schule für Fotografie in Berlin, she asked me to help her print her final show. This sensitive, personal series took its final form as a (note)book (Notizen) combined with text, but … more


One of the first workshops I held in the Simplon lab was the Photogram workshop. It was so much fun! “A photogram is a photographic image made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of a photo-sensitive material such as photographic paper and then exposing it to light. The result is a … more

Shai Saul: Archeology of the Future

One of my first serious printing job was to Enlarge Shai Saul’s photo murals for his show in Förster Galerie in Berlin, in 2009, titled the Archeology of the Future. At that time I did not have the proper lab that I do now, so I rented one out in Budapest and did the final … more

Sverre Strandberg: Spring exhibition

In 2013 Sverre Strandberg, a Norvegian artist, participated in a group show in Oslo, showing his surreal large format photographs, which I printed for him in Berlin. Installation view of @Sverre Strandberg in Fotogalleriet, Oslo Installation view of @Sverre Strandberg in Fotogalleriet, Oslo Installation view of @Sverre Strandberg in Fotogalleriet, Oslo Installation view of @Sverre Strandberg in Fotogalleriet, Oslo … more

Timea Oravecz: What happens when nothing happens

Timea Oravecz, a good friend of mine and a great conceptual artist, asked me to participate in a project of hers in 2012: She built a camera obscura in a Berlin-based gallery, which was big enough that people could walk in and see the inverted reflection of the street view on a screen in the … more

Work in progress: Printing the Antanas Sutkus show

It was a great honor for me when I was asked by Eric Schlosser, the creative director of the ArtVilnius Art Fair, to print large-scale photo murals for the renowed photographer Antanas Sutkus – a living legend, the “Homer of Lithuania” as they call him. I went to Vilnius in person to pick up the … more