Photobook medium was rather popular in the USSR, after the revolution it was nourished by the communists as a powerful propaganda vehicle. But during the Soviet era photobooks were always dedicated to societal and community subjects, some personal stories were allowed only in kids books. The vast heritage of Soviet era photobooks mostly vanished during perestroika times. Contemporary artists and photographers in Russia try to reinvent the medium, and after being disregarded for a long time, personal and intimate subjects are back in focus now. Large-scale documentary albums seem to be a trend of the last century, contemporary projects are small, intimate, small-circulation, easy if not in content, then in weight. We also tried to trace the connections between the “players” of the photobook world in Russia. Depicting them on the diagram, it convincingly demonstrates that the artist-author can’t exist outside of institutional and interpersonal relationships, and certain centers in the photobooks “network” facilitate development of the photobook community.
Lecture by Natalia Beluta, in English.