Shaikhet Arkady

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Arkady Shaikhet (1989-1959) was born in 1898 in the city of Nikolaev (Ukraine) in a poor Jewish family. He finished four classes of elementary school, could not enter the gymnasium because of the educational qualification for Jews that existed at that time, and therefore began working as a locksmith’s assistant at the Nikolaev shipbuilding plant. During the civil war, he served in the Red Army in a brass band.

In 1920, Arkady Shaikhet came to Moscow. Works as a retoucher at a private photo studio «Rembrandt» on Sretenka. It was at this time that a prominent Soviet official, Executive Secretary of ROST Dmitry Brazul advised Shaikhet to pay attention to the genre of photo reportage, which had a decisive influence on his future professional career. Soon the first photos of Shaikhet appeared in the then popular «Workers’ newspaper» and the accompanying illustrated application «Screen». In the summer of 1923, he was invited to join the editorial staff of the weekly magazine «Moskovsky Proletariy», and for several years thereafter, his photographs graced the cover and centerfold of this publication. Since 1924, he collaborated with the magazines «Ogonyok», «USSR at the construction site», and «Our achievements», creating a photographic chronicle of the first five-year labor plans.

On behalf of the editorial board, Arkady Shaikhet filmed Lenin’s funeral in 1924. In the same year, he made the first photo report from the May day Parade. Here, for the first time, he begins to use the diagonal construction of the frame, which has become one of the main techniques of avant-garde photographers and a recognizable method of Shaikhet himself. In 1925, Arkady Shaikhet published a series of photographs in «Ogonyok» dedicated to the completion of the Shaturskaya Steam Power Plant. Since the second half of the 1920s, he began to participate in numerous exhibitions, including the all-Union photo exhibition «Soviet photography for 10 years».

The dynamism of the era, which corresponded to ideological slogans, required to saturate the cadres with movement, and this goal was served by the favorite diagonal composition in the works «Ski course of the red army» (1928), «Cyclists on the Red square» (1924) , and others.

To enhance the expressiveness and emphasize the monumentality of the form, Shaikhet often used the lower angle: «Komsomolets at the helm «(1929) thus «elevating» the hero. Hard accurate framing, the ability to compose a fragment vividly and unusually helped the master to embody the symbols of the new universe in the picture.

Shaikhet filmed many significant events in the history of the USSR, in particular the meeting of Chelyuskinites for the newspaper «Pravda» in April 1934. During the great Patriotic war, he worked a lot at the front as a correspondent for the newspaper «Front illustration». Shaikhet’s photos were published in the Newspapers «Pravda», «Krasnaya Zvezda», and «Komsomolskaya Pravda». He recorded military actions on various fronts, including near Moscow, at Stalingrad, on the Kursk Bulge, at the capture of Berlin. According to eyewitnesses, Shaikhet not only filmed on the front line, but also participated in the battles himself. Finally, he was one of those who photographed the meeting of soldiers at the Belorussky railway station in the summer of 1945. In the post-war years, he again mainly worked for «Ogonyok» magazine.

Many of Arkady Shaikhet’s works are in Museum and private collections, and his exhibitions are held both in Russia and abroad.


Avant-Garde and Propaganda / Vanguardia y propaganda. Russian Books and Magazines from the Archivo Lafuente 1913-1941 / Libros y revistas rusos en el Archivo Lafuente 1913-1941, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain

The Soviet Century: Russian Photography from the Lafuente Archive (1917-1972), PhotoEspaña18, Madrid, Spain

“Masters of Soviet photojournalism”, PhotoVisa, Krasnodar
The USSR is building socialism. Masterpieces of the Soviet photobook of the 1930s, Lumiere brothers Center for photography, Moscow
“Revolution of people”, Lumiere brothers Center for photography, Moscow

“Arkady Shaikhet. 1945-1959. Episode 4-minutes”, MAMM, Moscow
“GAUDEAMUS: From the history of Russian students”, Lumiere brothers Center for photography, Moscow
The Power of Pictures. Early Soviet Photography and Film, Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The battle for Moscow, MAMM, Moscow

Prozavod, Lumiere brothers Center for photography, Moscow
Soviet photo, Lumiere brothers Center for photography, Moscow
The Power of Pictures. Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film, Jewish Museum, new York, USA
Used dream, MAMM, Moscow

“Arkady Shaikhet 1932-1941”, MAMM, Moscow
XVII Encuentros Abiertos, Festival de la Luz 2014, Fundación Luz Austral, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Soviet photo. Photographs from the collection of the state center of photography ROSPHOTO, St. Petersburg

“Arkady Shaikhet. Continuation, 1928 -1931”, MAMM, Moscow
“WE. People of the country. Best photos of the XX century”, Lumiere brothers Center for photography, Moscow
“A collection of Lumiere Brothers Gallery. Anniversary exhibition”, Lumiere brothers Center for photography, Moscow
“Russia. The twentieth century in photographs. 1918-1940”, Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia
WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY. Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA

“The age of optimism. Art and propaganda in Soviet photography of the 1920s and 1940s”, ROSPHOTO, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Arkady Shaikhet “The Beginning. 1923-1927”, Zurab Tsereteli Art Gallery, Moscow

Politische Bilder. Sowjetische Fotografien 1918-1941. Die Sammlung Daniela Mrázkowá, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany

Shooting in 35: The First 35mm Photographs. Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, USA
Bilder vom Krieg und vom Frieden, Russisches Haus der Wissenschaft und Kultur, Berlin, Germany

1945 – Im Blick der Fotografie. Kriegsende und Neuanfang, Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Munster, Germany

“Photo relay: from Rodchenko to the present day”, Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia
Fotografie der Russischen Avantgarde aus der Sammlung Ludwig – Alexander Rodtschenko und Zeitgnossen. Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen, Germany

Russische Tafelrunde, Russisches Haus der Wissenschaft und Kultur, Berlin, Germany
Seasons of Russian photography, Palazzo Arese Borromeo, Cesano Moderno

“Arkady Shaikhet. Photos 1924-1951”, Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg

“Arkady Shaikhet. Photographs 1924-1951”, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

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