Boris Ignatovich (1899-1979) was born in 1899 in the city of Slutsk (Belarus). He studied first in Lodz (Poland), and then at the gymnasium of Lugansk (Ukraine). In 1918, he graduated from a gymnasium with a silver medal in Petrograd. He returned to Lugansk, where he worked as a journalist in the newspaper Severodonetsk Communist, and in 1919 joined the RCP and became head of the regional department of ROSTA in Sterlitamak. Thus, Ignatovich came to photography already as a professional journalist. He took his first photographs back in 1923 with a Kodak camera. Later, he shot with the famous «Leica» and sometimes with a large-scale wooden chamber of the XIX century.
Ignatovich was one of the first to develop a new language for avant-garde photography. His most recognizable photographs of the 1920-1930s captured a modern urban life, construction, industrial production and the life of «new people». The themes themselves required a different approach to shooting. The unique tricks he used were sharp angles, a game with scale and diagonal frame construction. Together with Alexander Rodchenko, Ignatovich led the photo section of the October group and worked in the famous magazine USSR under Construction.
Boris Ignatovich became one of the pioneers of aerial photography (A series of photographs created in 1933 in Leningrad). Especially for this, he was given the R-5 aeroplane, which was controlled by an amateur photographer. The shooting was carried out from the lowest possible height to the «Watering Can» with a wide-angle lens. All the pictures were taken from a plane not intended for this and were made without the use of special equipment (photographs «St. Isaac’s Cathedral» and «View of the Kazan Cathedral» in 1931).
In the late 1930s, when Ignatovich, like many of his other colleagues, was accused of «petty-bourgeois aestheticism» and formalism, his photographs for some time disappeared from the pages of magazines and newspapers. He did not stop shooting, but began to shoot differently; he turned to earlier visual techniques, the traditions of Russian academism, asceticism, and pictorial photography.
During the war, Boris Ignatovich worked as a military photojournalist for the Battle Banner newspaper on the Kalinin Front. In his reports, you can see both battle scenes and life sketches, group and personal portraits. In 1945-1950, he continued to be listed in the studio named after M. Grekov as a military photographer. Still, at the same time, he shot landscapes and other peaceful subjects, including his homeland, in Ukraine. In 1948, for the first time, Ignatovich’s exhibition, Landscapes of My Homeland, was successfully held at the Central House of Art Workers.
Since the 1950s, Ignatovich changed and combined many works. He was a photojournalist of the Pravda publishing house and the Ogonyok magazine, a photo- artist of the Izogiz publishing house, a literary employee of Sovetsky photo. Also, He led a photo report section in the country’s largest photo club Novator. His photographs were included in many group exhibitions, and in April 1969 the Moscow organization of the Union of Journalists of the USSR organized a jubilee exhibition dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the master, which was held in the Central House of Journalists.
The total volume of Boris Ignatovich’s archive includes more than one hundred thousand photographs; his works are included in many museum collections in Russia and the world.