Szalai studied photography at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. He also holds a degree in Art and Design Theory.
He was nominated for the C/O Berlin Talent Award 2020. In 2019, he was a winner of LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards. In 2018, he became the laureate of the Carte Blanche Award founded by Paris Photo. In the same year, he was selected for the 2nd cycle of PARALLEL - European Photo Based Platform and he was also awarded the grand prize at the Budapest Portfolio Review 2018.
Szalai’s work has been exhibited and published internationally. He is a member of the Carte Blanche Collective and the Studio of Young Photographers, Hungary. He lives and works in Budapest.