(Budapest, Hungary, 1910 - 2003, Laren, Netherlands)
Besnyö's photography focused on social realism and documentary record. She was born in Hungary, but relocated to Berlin in ca.1930, and was active for the majority of her life in the Netherlands, particularly Amsterdam, where she lived from 1932 until her death. Besnyö was a lifelong friend of photographer Robert Capa, they met as childhood friends living on the same street in Budapest. They met later as political refugees in Berlin, where Besnyö intoduced Capa to his first photographic press agency. She was married to the filmmaker John Fernhout, and later to Wim Brusse, under whose name her published work was credited from 1941-1944 due to her Jewish ancestry. In the 1970s Besnyö was active in the Dutch Dolle-Mina feminist movement for women’s rights and through her photographs became the chronicler of the movement. In 1980 she rejected the Ritterorden (knighthood) which was to have been bestowed on her by the Queen of the Netherlands. In 1999, in Berlin, the “grand old lady” of Dutch photography was awarded the Dr. Erich Salomon Award for her life’s work.