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Friday, March 16, 2018

“Vladimir Szokolay: “We are faced with the simple stupidity of the officials””

In the Multimedia Art Museum opened an exhibition “Novokuznetsk school of photography”. Presented the works of the masters, the polar world-views and aesthetics. One of them — Vladimir Szokolay. He became a photographer at a metallurgical plant. Contrary to Soviet conditions he was able to unify his characters and show the inner world of each of them.

Photo: Vladimir Szokolay.

Nearly a hundred black and white photos. None not even a trace of artificiality or postanovochnoe. The only documented szokolay, managed to catch the natural and at the same time, expressive scenes that purposely did not invent. A woman in a beret carries the slogan with the word “happiness” by retirees looking out the window of a brick house. Grandfather is watching with hope, and grandmother — an old hag — contorted with anger. Workers of Novokuznetsk metallurgical combine and give blood at blood donor Day. Ambulance rescues a woman-suicide in the presence of her lost daughter and an unhappy mother.

We talked with Vladimir Nikolaevym on opening day.

— You became a photographer in the conditions seemingly have to be creative. How did that happen?

When I returned from the army, began searching for a job. Passed the factory and saw the ad: looking for an electrician for a movie Studio. I went in, I was accepted. After a week, asked a local photographer to take some pictures on his camera. He allowed. Footage turned out good. The photographer later resigned, and I took his place.

— In the USSR was dominated by socialist realism, and you sang individualism. As the mill management didn’t make these photos?

— I was lucky. Our Director had focused exclusively on their direct responsibilities, in my case did not intervene. Evaluated my work according to the principle of “like — dislike”. Conditions I don’t fully trust, because I was also involved in city and regional exhibitions, proved itself.

— Among your photo projects — “House of child” and “Children in the house.” How do the boys react to the camera?

— I was in an orphanage for the photography club. I managed to establish with kids contact. It took patience and the ability to speak as equals. They would trust me. Then I realized that in children there is no negativity. It was invented by adults.

— You are the only who have registered with creative group of photographers in the Soviet Union. What difficulties are in this case?

— The members of our triva filmed in a vast regime of the plant, in which other photographers there was virtually no access. Organized a street exhibition on factory stands in the city. But a year after registration, by the decision of the regional Committee, the group has been disbanded “for the dissemination of ideologically harmful”. So the authorities reacted to the attempt by photographers to send their pictures in Amsterdam the World Press Photo contest. We are faced with the usual stupidity of the officials. In 1982, all the participants “TRIVA” were dismissed from the plant. I Vorobyev and soon established a darkroom for another company and continued to work together. Without plant, we came out with their “Leica” on the streets of his native city…

The artist hung the pictures of Vladimir Sokolaev, Vladimir Vorobiev and Nikolai Bakharev — masters from the legendary triva. Their work polar ideology and aesthetics, but very expressive. The project was named “Novokuznetsk school of photography”. Most of the pictures here in the disgraced times were available only to a narrow circle of friends photographers. Now this exhibition bridges the gaps in the history of Russian photography.

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