Independent photography which did not find a place in official canons and could not be shown in galleries or published appears in 50s’ in USSR. Official photography resided under the full ideological control. It was prohibited to take pictures on religious subject matters (“religious propaganda”), nudity (“pornography”) and socially harsh stories (“ideological sabotage”). Censorship also brushed away symbolism, aestheticism and any other formalist searches and experiments in photography.
The photographs of 50s’-80s’ so as painters could chose conformist way – take pictures corresponding with the ideological requirements, or defend their right for creative freedom. In last case scenario the photographs could be shown to friends and relatives, but no chance to be seen publicly.
Independent art photography unlike official, so as underground movements of visual arts, music and literature expanded the art area. Photograph took not the allowed pictures, but those he or she thought were necessary to be taken – they searched for new forms, new languages in the arts.
Although every underground representative formed a unique individual style, not taking in account any political or social goal fighting current at that time regime. In the end it appeared that their activities were guided to loosening and destruction of the monopoly and uniformity of totalitarian system in the arts and social life. No one proposed any political demands like: “Freedom for the Arts!”, “Freedom for speech”, but behaved as if they have already got the freedom they need.
In the photo book there are photographs from the 60s-80s by 14 Leningrad underground photographers: Gran-Boris Kydryakov (fr. grande), Gennady Prihod’ko, Leonid Bogdanov, Pti-Boris Smelov (fr. petit), Olga Korsunova, Vladimir Okulov, Slava Mikhajlov, Valentin Til’ Maria Samarin, Nikolay Matrenin, Sergey Falin, Anatoly Shishkov, Sergey Podgorkov, Lev Zvyagyn, Evgeny Antonenko.
This photo book is available in English.
320 p., coated paper, dust jacket, illustrations in color