Tibor Farkas

Old Hungarian lady having a regular eye test
WHO/Tibor Farkas

Tibor Farkas was born in 1934 in Budapest, Hungary. In 1952, he began to study photography and in 1958 he enrolled in the Academy of Journalism in Budapest. From 1952 to 1964, he worked as a journalist and photographer in Hungary. He also lectured at the International School of Journalism and served as secretary of the Hungarian Press Photographers Association.

In 1964, Mr Farkas moved to Geneva to work as an assistant photo editor at WHO. In 1967, he was promoted as photo editor, a position he held until 1973 and again from 1986 to 1994. In the interim period, he worked as an independent visual information adviser and photographer for United Nations organizations including United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Development Programme, and the UN Narcotics Division.

Through his long career, Mr Farkas was instrumental in coordinating the photo archives and contributing to publications at WHO. He also produced numerous photo reports and travelled throughout Europe, Russia and Israel. The subjects he captured ranged from pollution to diabetes, to the inauguration of the new WHO Headquarters in 1966.

Diabetes in Hungary: Hungary, 1979
For this photo report, Tibor Farkas travelled to Hungary to photograph treatment programmes for diabetes. Photographs from this assignment appeared in the World Health magazine in 1979.

Health at sea: Sweden, 1966
In 1966, Tibor Farkas accompanied a group of Swedish sailors to photograph health services available to them while at sea. The images were published in 1968 in the context of an article on the health of sailors from several countries.

"I got my first small Kodak camera at the age of seven… My eldest sister was a journalist and it was one of her colleagues who introduced me to the wonders of the darkroom. First I was scared in the dark, but quickly became fascinated by the miracles of the slowly appearing images in the developer’s trays."
-- From an interview with Tibor Farkas, March 2009