Zsófi Bodnár and Zoli Szőke fell in love with each other back in high school. Even though they have been together for ten years, until now they have been on different professional paths: it took a pandemic and the confinement coming with it for them to realize that they could make their old dreams—kept in separate drawers until now—come true better together. Photography and graphic design in one, in extra high quality—meet Hézag Studio!
Zoli: Zsófi and I were classmates in high school. I sat in the back of the class, as naughty boys usually do, while Zsófi sat in the first row. One day I found myself staring at Zsófi for half an hour instead of the whiteboard, and all I could think about was when I could ask her out for a coffee. The warnings “don’t date your mate” went over my head, and actually this is what I owe this fantastic decade to. We are one of the couples that first fell in love and then got together. This also applies to our jobs: we first fell in love with the idea of what we wanted to do and then made it come true.
Zsófi: It was love at first sight indeed. It took ten years, a wedding and the isolation brought upon by the pandemic to make us realize that we could work together in our professional lives, too.
Zoli: In the past two years, I worked at Budapest-based creative agency Socially as a motion designer. I owe them a lot, as in addition to the creative processes, I could also experience what it is like to work in a good team, in a good office. This period was inspiring and quite intense at the same time. In the course of making motion picture soundtracks or album recording sessions I brainstormed long into the night, and spent weeks stuck in a studio. In our own business, the rhythm is a bit different: we brainstorm almost all the time, everywhere. In the studio, at home, in the park or in a cafe—the recipe is always the same. I think inspiration is not tied to circumstances. On the contrary: I am now realizing that it finds us in the oddest of situations. The line between our work and our private life usually gets blurred—exactly like the concepts of home and office, couple and colleague. We don’t like to put labels on anything, we work hard and in the meantime we have fun in the roles we are in at the given moment.
Zsófi: Now we are trying to keep our weekends clear from work, but it happened several times that we started looking for models for a photoshoot Saturday evening because that’s when we came up with the perfect character. Due to the restrictions, we were already forced to stay within the four walls a lot, and on those days an impromptu brainstorming session always perked up our evening.
Zoli: I have always been deeply amazed by how Zsófi manages her clients and money. She handles these situations simply and with a casual, laidback attitude: she looks for kindness and professionalism in everything. I’m a Balkan kid: where I come from, we usually resolve these problems more loudly. I learn from Zsófi a lot every day and there is nothing more motivating than working with the person you already want to spend all your time with.
Zsófi: Since I have known him, Zoli has been a firm believer of his goals and he puts all his energy into his projects to reach these goals. He is an extreme maximalist, he has had several musical and graphic design jobs in the drawer for a year. In the coming months, he’ll finally show them to others, too.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OR CRITICISM
Zoli: Usually our minds work the same way, and so it only rarely happens that we don’t understand the other’s concept.
Zsófi: I find it particularly hard to criticize anyone, however, Zoli has always demanded the strictest criticism from me, and by now it has become more than natural that once we’re done with a project, the first thing we do is show it to the other and ask for their opinion and feedback. Usually we are head over heels for the other’s work, but it only rarely occurs that we approve it in the first round, without giving any feedback.
Zsófi: Nowadays I feel that a great part of our dreams we had back in our teenage years has already come true, and so it was time we took the new ones seriously. Every professional success inspires us to dare to dream even bigger. I feel extremely lucky when I can work with the people whose work I used to admire in magazines ten years ago. And since Zoli and I are brainstorming on projects together, it’s like I got a super power. Instead of getting comfortable because I never have to make decisions on my own again, I feel an even stronger motivation to achieve. Of course we have some big brands on our bucket lists to whom we would happily create a campaign or visual identity refresh, but we are already very happy with the exciting opportunities this summer will be all about.
Zsófi: Of course the surprise proposal in Rome is one of our dearest memories, but most of our unforgettable stories are related to our trips on which we got lost a little. We always felt the best when we stayed away from frequented areas. Was it a jazz session in the outskirts of Rotterdam or a dinner on a hidden terrace of the market in Marrakesh: at these times, we disappeared from the world and wanted to stop the time…
Photos: Balázs Mohai