Arkady Shaikhet

(1898 ─ 1959)

Arkady Shaikhet was born in 1898 in the city of Nikolaev (Ukraine) into a poor Jewish family. His father sold barrel beer, and his mother kept a small seamstress shop. He graduated from four classes of elementary school, was unable to enter the gymnasium because of the educational qualification for Jews existing at that time, and therefore began working as an assistant at the Nikolaevsk shipbuilding yard. During the Civil War, he served in the brass band of the Red Army.
In 1922–1924, Shaikhet worked as a retoucher at the private photographic studio Rembrandt, located in Sretenka, Moscow. It was at this time that a prominent Soviet official, the responsible secretary of ROSTA, Dmitry Brazul, advised Shaikhet to pay attention to the photo report genre, having a decisive influence on his future professional career. Soon, the first photos of Shaikhet appeared in the then popular Rabochaya Gazeta and its accompanying illustrated screen application. In the summer of 1923 he was invited to the editorial office of the weekly magazine Moskovsky Proletary, and over the next few years his photographs decorated the cover and the central page of this edition. Since 1924, he collaborated with the magazines "Spark", "USSR in construction", "Our achievements", creating a photographic chronicle of the first five-year work plans.
On behalf of the editors, Arkady Shaikhet filmed Lenin's funeral in 1924. In the terrible January frost, he managed to make only two frames, after which the frozen shutter of the camera refused. In the same year, he made the first photo report with May Day parade. Removing these scenes, he first begins to use the diagonal frame construction, which has become one of the main techniques of avant-garde photographers and the recognizable method of Shaikhet himself. In 1925, Arkady Shaykhet published a series of shots in Ogonyok, dedicated to the completion of the Shatura CHP. Among them are photographs such as "The Lamp of Ilyich" and "The Discovery of the Shatura Power Station", which for some time became one of the most famous in the USSR. In addition, in the second half of the 1920s, he begins to participate in
numerous exhibitions, including the All-Union photo exhibition "Soviet
photo for 10 years.
In the summer of 1931, the Society of Friends of the USSR in Austria decided to arrange an exposition of photographs representing the course of socialist construction in the USSR. A special section of the exhibition was the series “Day of the Moscow Working Family”. A team of photographers Arkady Shaikhet, Maxim Alpert, Solomon Tules and editor-in-chief Lev Mezherich completed the survey of the working family of the metalworker Filippov. After the exhibition, the German communist weekly “Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung” dedicated a separate issue to this material, the half-million circulation of which was quickly sold, and it was printed again. The series entered the history of photography entitled “24 hours from the life of the Filippov family” and is still one of the most recognizable in Soviet photography.
Shaikhet filmed many significant events in the history of the USSR, in particular the meeting of the Chelyuskin people for the newspaper Pravda in April 1934. During the Great Patriotic War, he worked a lot at the front as a correspondent for the newspaper "Front Illustration". Photos of Shaikhet were published in the newspapers Pravda, Krasnaya Zvezda, Komsomolskaya Pravda. He recorded military operations on various fronts, including near Moscow, near Stalingrad, at the Kursk Bulge, and the capture of Berlin. According to eyewitnesses, Shaikhet not only shot at the front line, but also participated in the battles. Finally, he was one of those who photographed the meeting of soldiers at the Belorussky railway station in the summer of 1945. The post-war years, he again worked primarily in the magazine Ogonek. Many works of Arkady Shaikhet are in museum and private collections, and exhibitions continue to be held both in Russia and abroad.

Selected group exhibitions
1926
The First exhibition of Photojournalism in Moscow, Moscow, Russia (1st place, honoured with award from Soviet photo magazine)
1928
Soviet photography for 10 years, Moscow, Russia (honoured with Certificate)
1930
Soviet Photography Exhibition, London, UK
1938
International Exhibition of Photography, UK (honoured with Certificate)
1940
International Photoexhibition, Zagreb, Jugoslavia
1948
Great Patriotic War in artistic photography, Moscow, Russia (honoured with Certificate)
1958
All-Union exhibition Photography in the USSR for 40 years, Moscow (honoured with Certificate)