Title The New Vision of Portrait in Russian Photography of the Early 20th Century
Author email givolkov@gmail.com
About author Volkov, Igor M. — Ph.D. student, Lomonosov Moscow State University. 27-4 Lomonosovsky prospect, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119991.
In the section Russian Art of the 18th - Early 20th Century
Year 2014 Volume 4 Pages 499507
Type of article RAR Index UDK 7.035...7; 7.038.53:77; 77.04; 77.041.5 Index BBK 85.14

The first decades of the 20th c. were a special period for the history of photography. A new style — pictorialism — trying to break with the previous tradition, had made a background for the subsequent fl owering of modernist photography. Th e article dwells upon the signifi cant features of portrait in Russian photography of the 1910’s – 1920’s, studying statements of the pictorial photographers and exploring concepts substantial for the period. Basing on the articles from the magazine “Vestnik fotografi i” (“Herald of Photography”) published in 1908–1918, the author aims to analyze criticism of the preceding tradition of studio photography and defi ne the major characteristics of “new vision” of portraiture in Russian pictorialism. “Naturalness” and “artifi ciality” were the two main oppositional categories in contradiction of the old and new attitudes to the portrait genre. The key features in depiction of a man in the works of the pictorial photographers were the desire for naturalness and psychological treatment of a model and environment. There was a tendency of avoiding detailed, documentary nature of the photographic medium through the use of soft-focus optics and sophisticated printing techniques resulting in a peculiar understanding of the print’s texture. There was also a strong infl uence of Symbolism style (especially of the painter V.E. Borisov-Musatov) manifested in fastidious composition solutions, choice of subject and title, direct references to literature and painting. Despite the rejection of the new trends by many professional photographers, it is important to note the widespread of pictorial techniques in studio photography. Their influence can be traced up to the 1950’s, whereas since the late 1920’s there was a fierce ideological struggle with the old trends in reportage and artistic photography.

Reference Volkov, Igor M. The New Vision of Portrait in Russian Photography of the Early 20th Century. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 4. Eds: Svetlana V. Maltseva, Anna V. Zakharova. St. Petersburg, NP-Print Publ., 2014, pp. 499–507. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language russian
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