Upon graduating from MOME’s Photography department in 2012, Éva Szombat started to examine the phenomenon of happiness and its effect on people. She has released two photo books on the subject, Happiness (2014) and Practitioners (2016). Her work is characterized by a playful use of contradictions and her practice blends glamour with irony and kitsch while keeping a clearly sociological approach. Szombat’s photos were published in local and international magazines such as Vice, the Huffington Post, Ignant, Neon, Blink magazine, and Vogue, and have been displayed in Budapest, New York, Jerusalem, Milan, Vienna, and Berlin. After the fantasy world full of glitter, vivid colours and easy visuals of her project Happiness, which functioned as a practical guide containing indications, lessons, advice and short exercises to achieve the state of felicity, her second publication Practitioners presents people who have exercised and consciously introduced happiness into their lives to overcome misfortune, tragedy, nuisance, or the banality of day-to-day living. Although every story is as different as the featured “practitioner”, happiness certainly appears to be a universal medicine for the soul, within the reach of all. The joyful ambiance of the project uplifts the reader/viewer, shakes the usually passive attitude towards happiness and refutes the idea that it is a state one might just wait for or hope to reach. Everything is a matter of practice.

Ego, from the series Happiness, 2014

Zsófi, from the series Happiness, 2014

Dávid, from the series Practitioners, 2016

Lavan, from the series Practitioners, 2016