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 Alexander  Greenberg

Outstanding photographer of the early 20th century, a classic of pictorialism


Alexander Greenberg (1885-1979) was a talented pictorialist and a man of remarkable destiny.
He was born in Moscow in the late 19th century, graduated from the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of the MSU and Stroganov Art School. At the beginning of the 20th century he became involved with photography, and in 1907 became a member of the Russian Photographic Society.
Alexander Greenberg participated in World War I and was taken prisoner of war by the Germans for a few years.
In 1914 he organized a photo department at Khanzhonkov Film Studio  (Moscow) and took up working as a cameraman there.
From 1923 Alexander Greenberg was a teacher at the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK). From 1925 to 1928 he was a cameraman of the State Cinema (Soviet Cinema) Factory.
Among various styles and trends widespread in photoart of the early 20th century, pictorialism enjoyed special popularity. This style being in accord with the mystical atmosphere of  the Silver Age found fertile ground in Russia.
Alexander Greenberg was one of the most vivid and gifted Russian pictorialists and enjoyed extraordinary popularity. From 1910 to 1930 his works were displayed in nearly every large photo salon and won several prizes at international exhibitions in Europe, Asia and America.
In the Soviet era the artist famous for erotic pictorialism was accused of pornography, arrested and condemned by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs. The photographer was released in 1939 and rehabilitated in the 1950s.
Alexander Greenberg perfectly mastered the technique of noble photographic printing, such as bromoil and gum arabic, but in the mid 1930s he extended away from bromoils and came to the conclusion that the creative element can express itself without sophisticated processing of a picture. Thus he formulated the idea and term of "pure photography".

Tags: Alexander Greenberg Russian Photographers    

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