Soviet Photo

14.05 – 6.09. 2015

The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography marks its 5th anniversary with an exhibition that spans the history of Soviet and Russian photography of the 20th century as seen through the magazine Soviet Photo.

Boris Ignatovich. Youth. Dinamo station. 1937

The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography marks its 5th anniversary with an exhibition that spans the history of Soviet and Russian photography of the 20th century as seen through the magazine Soviet Photo.

Soviet Photo was the most popular periodical on photography in the USSR with the focus both on professional and amateur photographers. During its lifetime from 1926 till 1997, the magazine witnessed all key figures of the photographic life of the country. Despite obvious governmental control over the magazine, it managed to become a sufficiently flexible and virtually unique platform for thorough discussion of photography, held by key art historians, critics, professional photographers and–not least importantly – amateurs from all over the union. Soviet Photo also published articles from leading scientists, covering technical aspects and details of photographic process. Among theorists who contributed to the magazine at varying times were Ilya Ehrenburg, Viktor Shklovsky, Lev Anninsky, Sergey Morozov, L. Volkov-Lannit, Anry Vartanov, Valery Stigneev, etc.

After the logic of the magazine, which was for a long time subtitled as “the magazine of photo reportage and amateur photography”, the exhibition focuses on the history and convergence of these two movements. Photo reportage section features seminal and rare prints of the leading Russian photographers from the collection of the Lumiere Center. Marking as well the upcoming 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the exhibition features war photography that was repeatedly printed in the magazine and became classic war photography images. Key editorials and articles from Soviet Photo introduced the unprecedented phenomenon of soviet amateur photography with its emergence at Leningrad Photo club in Vyborg Palace of Culture, peak at Moscow photo club Novator and subsequent evolution in the regions and soviet republics (Kazan, Chelyabinsk, Lithuania, Latvia, etc).

The exhibition invites viewers to engage in the discussion on Soviet and Russian photography of the 1920s–1990s, to gain insight into aesthetic and subject-related diversity of photography of the time, which in an extraordinary manner manifested itself through the magazine. The anniversary exhibition features vintage photographs from the Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography collection, photographs from private collections, magazine covers, and key editorials.