Soviet Art

USSR Culture

Soviet photographer Yuri Abramochkin

George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev. 1990s. Soviet photographer Yuri Abramochkin

George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev. 1990s. Soviet photographer Yuri Abramochkin

Soviet photographer Yuri Abramochkin was born in 1936 in Moscow. Yuri Abramochkin entered the inner circle of reporters, allowed to shoot the first persons of the state, and his work – interesting evidence so different in content periods of the country’s life. The heroes of his works – the political leaders of our time from the second half of the 20th century to the present day: general secretaries Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, President Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, the leaders of other countries – Fidel Castro, Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth II, Yasser Arafat, Yuri Luzhkov, five American presidents from Richard Nixon to George Bush Sr., famous figures of science and art. A talented artist, he is equally fine in photographing landscapes and ordinary people, moments of their life in a kaleidoscope of ever-changing events of the epoch.

Red Square, parade, 1960s

Red Square, parade, 1960s. Soviet photographer Yuri Abramochkin

Soviet photographer Yuri Abramochkin first came to the APN (then the Soviet Information Bureau) in 1957, brought the photos of the Moscow Festival of Youth and Students, shot by his old camera FED – father’s gift. Since 1961 he begins to work constantly at the APN, where he finds his teachers in the profession, old school photographers – Georgi Zelma, Michael Ozersky, Jacob Berliner …

A boy with apples. 1961. The Virgin Lands Campaign during 1960s

A boy with apples. 1961. The Virgin Lands Campaign during 1960s

Photos of Yuri Abramochkin is the chronicle of the era. Yuri has created a portrait gallery of life in the USSR for several decades. It seems there wasn’t any major event in the history of the USSR and Russia, which had not be detected by the camera of this wonderful master. The conquest of space, the rise of virgin land, the years of stagnation under Brezhnev, the terrible years of Gorbachev’s perestroika, the collapse of the USSR, the tough economic reforms of 90. And finally, our ambiguous and contradictory today – all this is reflected in the work of Soviet photographer Yuri Abramochkin.

Birth of a ballerina. 1966

Birth of a ballerina. 1966

Yuri Abramochkin is a publicist. A talented artist, he is equally fine in photographing political events and landscapes. Still, his credo is photo-report of events. He lives close to his characters, and enjoys working with them. And what’s more important – he genuinely likes people he shoots. It does not matter who it is: the first cosmonaut of the planet, the leader of the Cuban Revolution or a simple fisherman from Lake Baikal. Because of this interest, empathy to the heroes of his pictures – they are not frozen semi-official statues, but living, each of them is a person with a character.

Bread of virgin land. 1964

Bread of virgin land. 1964

Yuri Abramochkin is the representative of “Kremlin photojournalists” given the opportunity to drive around with the camera halfway around the world. He shot Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Castro, Nixon, Yasser Arafat, Queen Elizabeth, Thatcher, Gandhi and many other historical figures. Perhaps, there is no major political figure of the second half of the XX century, whose portrait would not have got into the photo archive of Abramochkin.

Chernenko (center), Andropov (right)

the fifth General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Konstantin Chernenko (center), Yuri Andropov – Soviet politician, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 12 November 1982 – 9 February 1984 (right)

Photographs of Yuri Vasilievich are absolutely unique. As fate and his own foresight he found himself at the right time in the right place. But it was in fact more important to find the angle to catch the light, and most importantly – when you press the shutter button. Looking at the pictures, we realize that they are made by a great master.

Yuri Abramochkin admitted, that of all kinds of photography he preferred summits: “The most successful stories I managed to capture after the protocol posing when everyone starts to behave naturally.” Moreover, when you look at his photos, it seems that even official people behave naturally. For example, such legendary cosmonauts as Tupolev and Ilyushin – in suits, with the stars of Heroes of Socialist Labor, sitting on the steps of the plane, he takes them so that visible become their characters and emotions.

Yuri Abramochkin is good at portraits, primarily because he is interested in people, regardless of their status, profession and age. Abramochkin loves and knows how to shoot children. No sugary sentimentality, tenderness and lyrical baby talk, but with humor. Two masterpieces in this series – “Crew” and “Schoolyard”.

Among the many awards that Yuri Abramochkin is justly proud of – Prize “Golden Eye” of the international competition World Press Photo (1987) for a picture of Matthias Rust landing on Red Square. As always, the photographer was in the right place at the right moment “by chance.” And, of course, with the camera.

Soviet photographer Yuri Abramochkin is a member of the Union of Journalists and the Union of Photographers of Russia, Honored Worker of Culture of Russia. He is one of 15 photojournalists of Russia, included in the famous 1145-page encyclopedia of the American “Modern photographers» (Contemporary Photographers) publishing by St. James Press Chicago & London.

Soviet photographer Yuri Abramochkin

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