Alexander Grinberg

Alexander Grinberg (1885–1979) was a Russian and Soviet photographer. He was a respected Russian photographer in the 20st century. He experienced the Russian Revolution, Civil War, two wars and the Stalinist repression. He developed a strong interest in photography from a very young age, taking his firt photograph at the age of 10. When he was 22 he was an active member of the Russion photographic community, and became the leading creative force.

In 1908 he was awarded with the silver medal in the all-Russian photo exhibition in Moscow and the gold medal in the international photo-exhibition in Dresden.This was the beginning of his international fame. In 1914 he got invited to work at the Khanzkhankov filmstudio in Moscow, he worked behing the camera for numerous studios and in 1920 he became a instructor att he State Techhnical Institute of Cinematography. He photographed Sergey Eisenstein. In 1920 his career was at his top, int he early 1930’s, under the storm of cultural revolution, the pictorialist masters of Soviet photography came under fire as ‘depraved’and Grinberg fell out of favor. Eroticism in artistic forms was considered a remnant of burgeuois idleness and inappropiate for Soviet society.
Gringberg risked one more exhibition in 1935, displaying photos of partially dressed woman. A storm of criticism came from Soviet government and Grinberg got arrested and sentenced to labor camp for distributing pornography. His brother managed to save negatives (otherwise would have been destroyed by authorities).
In 1939 he was released on early parole but by then he had lost his sense of smell. He resumed working as photographer for various institutions. After World War II he worked for a modeling agency, photographing for fashion designers and in 1950 he made portraits of various famous Soviet actors and scientists. He died in 1979.

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