Ignatovich Boris

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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.


Boris Ignatovich. As part of the “Classics of Russian Photography” program. Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia

The Soviet Century: Russian Photography from the Lafuente Archive (1917-1972), PhotoEspaña18, Madrid, Spain
Pendulum. Moving Goods, Moving People. Images from the MAST Foundation’s Collection, MAST Foundation, Bologna, Italy
ROSSART, Photobastei, Zurich, Switzerland

“People’s Revolution”, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow

“Kiss”, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow

The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film, Еврейский музей, New York, USA
We Must Tear the Veil from Our Eyes. Photographs and Drawings of the Russian Avant-Garde from the Collection of the Sepherot Foundation, museum Kunstmuseum Bochum, Bochum, Germany
“PROzavod”, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow
“Soviet Photo”, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow
ROSPHOTO. 15 years. Open collection, Rosfoto, St. Petersburg

XVII Open Encounters, Festival of Light 2014, Fundacion Luz Austral, Buenos Aires, Argentina

“Soviet Photo”, ROSPHOTO, St. Petersburg, Russia
“Invitation to dinner. Cookbook of the Russian Museum”, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

“Russia. XX century in photographs. 1918-1940”, Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia
“We are. The best photographs of the XX century”, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow
“Collection of the Lumiere Brothers Gallery. Jubilee Exhibition”, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow

“The Age of Optimism. Art and propaganda in Soviet photography of the 1920- 1940s”, ROSPHOTO, St. Petersburg, Russia

Political Images: Soviet Photographs 1918-194, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany

Kunst im Auftrag, German-Russian Museum Berlin- Karlshorst, Berlin, Germany
Personal exhibition of Boris Ignatovich. The Lumiere Brothers gallery, Moscow

Photo der Russischen Avantgarde aus der Sammlung Ludwig – Alexander Rodtschenko und Zeitgenossen, Surmund -Ludwig Museum, Aachen, Germany
Soviet Photography of the 1920s and 1930s years. Of pictorialism and modernism zum Sozialistischen Realismus, Museum of Photography, Winterthur, Switzerland
“Photo relay: from Rodchenko to the present day”, Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia

“Seasons of Russian Photography”, Palazzo Arese Borromeo, Italy
Russian Round Table, Russian House of Science and Culture, Berlin, Germany

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