Janos Novomezsky, noted daguerreotype collector and dealer, died on September 10th near Budapest, Hungary. Typical of Janos, he had stopped at the side of the road and was trying to help a dog hurt by another car when a drunk driver, who was reportedly speeding, fatally hit and killed Novomezsky.
His son Matthew was in the car that was also hit in the accident, but reportedly suffered no injuries. His Hungarian fiancée and companion for the last two years, Zita Sor, was also hurt in the accident, but suffered only relatively minor injuries.
Janos was born in Budapest on June 25, 1955. He was only 49 years old when he died. Before he left Hungary in 1977, Novomezsky had been a fashion photographer, among other things. He first went to Poland, and than to Sweden. He became a painter in Sweden and had a number of exhibitions there. He told me that he learned English from movies and television programs. He came to the U.S. via Florida, where his grandmother lived. Later he lived in Las Vegas and recently in Rochester, NY and Budapest, Hungary. He had just survived serious spinal surgery, just a few years prior to the accident, but was still concerned about his health.
Daguerreotypes became his passion after he found a box of daguerreotypes in a group of antiques that he had bought. Novomezsky became well known for his enthusiastic support of the daguerreian art form. He was a long time member of the Daguerreian Society, and he spoke to the Annual Meeting of the Society about his collection. He launched the International House of Photography-Budapest (IHPB), which was intended to house his collection, which included many other photographic formats, and sponsor events and symposiums to support photography in Hungary.
It is without question that the daguerreian and broader photographic community will mourn his loss.
Janos's funeral was held in Budapest in the Cemetery of Farkasret. He is buried there next to his mother and father.
Janos was a very close friend, who often came and stayed at my home, and he and his former wife Theresa also gave me refuge in Las Vegas once when I was stranded there because the airport in Philadelphia was snowed in. His tragic death hit me hard. I will miss him, his friendship, and all his "craziness" and passion for photography and life. I lack the proper words for all of this, but his fiancée Zita Sor told me very poignantly: "Janos was half of mine, and I was half of him. And we lost each other. That is what I can say. And he died because of his kindly personality. That is why everybody loved him in his life."