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© Courtesy of the Moscow House of Photography

The bright Communist past

by Joy Neumeyer at 19/03/2012 19:47

‘Time Machine. Color. 1930-1970. Vladislav Mikosha’

Dom Leningradskoi Torgovli (Leningrad Trade House), 1950s

© Courtesy of the Moscow House of Photography

Dom Leningradskoi Torgovli (Leningrad Trade House), 1950s

From Fri. March 23 to Sun. May 13 at the Zurab Tsereteli Gallery of Art, 19 Ul. Prechistenka, m. Kropotkinskaya, rah.ru
Open Tue.-Thu. and Sat., noon-8 pm, Fri. noon-10 pm, Sun. noon-7 pm

Famed photographer and director Vladislav Mikosha filmed some of the most famous events of the Soviet era: the destruction of Christ the Savior Cathedral, the liberation of Warsaw, Khrushchev’s meeting with Kennedy. As a correspondent for Pravda, Izvestia and other major publications, Mikosha was revered for his skillful photo reportage, especially his wartime footage from the front.

A new exhibition at the Tsereteli Gallery focuses on his legacy as a pioneer of color photography, as part of the Moscow House of Photography’s four-year series dedicated to Mikosha. After the three-color carbro process arrived in the Soviet Union in 1938, many photographers’ initial enthusiasm dimmed as they became frustrated with its technical difficulties.

Mikosha, however, stuck with the technology, and used it to great effect. The exhibition displays Mikosha’s shots of daily life in post-war Moscow and Leningrad, including a 20-minute film of a Victory Day parade on Red Square, as well as his series from the Crimea, the Caucasus, Georgia and more.

Mikosha’s photos can feel a bit like stills from a sunny Soviet comedy. Shopkeepers tend to shelves brimming with shiny toys; children at famous Pioneer camp Artek smile broadly in their crisp white uniforms; bus passengers are resplendent in floral dresses and cat-eye shades. But the photos’ nostalgic tone effectively capture the optimistic side of the Soviet dream, reminding outsiders just how colorful life could be in a country often considered monochromatic.

Read other articles of the print issue "The Moscow News #20"
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