Andre Kertesz is one of the acknowledged masters of twentieth century photography. His career spanned over six decades, from 1914 to the mid-1980s, as he moved from his native Hungary to Paris and then to New York City. In 1978, English painter Harold Riley collaborated with Andre Kertesz to produce a retrospective of Kertesz's photographs at the University of Salford in Northern England. Now referred to as the Manchester Collection, the exhibition included work from every period of the Kertesz's career printed at different times and on a variety of photographic papers. The exhibition followed an alternating arrangement of chronological and thematic photographs divided into six distinct categories: early Hungarian photographs exhibited with later landscapes from Europe and the United States, photographs from France, still-lives, New York photographs, portraits and figure studies from Hungary, France and the United States, and pictures using abstraction and distortion. This creative arrangement of images allowed the viewer to observe the developing progression of Kertesz's photography while simultaneously gaining an understanding of the subjects and themes that held a recurring fascination for the artist.
Andre Kertesz's photographs embraced several cultures and variety of aesthetic impulses. Kertesz documented, reported and interpreted but perhaps most significantly, he turned observation into poetry. As Mark Haworth-Boothe once noted, "His secret was to create so much order and still suggest that it had all been seen at a glance."