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Deutsches Technikmuseum - Man at work

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:

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Black and white photo: A man with flat cap concentrates on his work at a workbench.

At the workbench, 1929
© MAMM/Photo: B. Ignatowitsch

Black and white photo: Division of labour in the factory: one worker soled shoes. A machine with a large transport wheel behind him constantly supplies him with more.

Work at the shoe factory, 1930s
© MAMM/Photo: B. Ignatowitsch

Black and white photo: Two men are inside the metal globe ball. They use hammers to work on the struts.

Assembly inside the globe ball at the telegraph office, Moscow, 1928
© M. Zhotikova-Schaichet /
Photo: A. Schaichet

Black and white photo: Arkadiy Schaikhet holds his camera in his hand. He looks down from a house onto the lively Gorky Street in the centre of Moscow.

Arkadiy Schaikhet looks down on Gorky Street, Moscow, 1939
© M. Zhotikova-Schaichet /
Photo: G. Selma

Black and white photo: Boris Ignatovich posing behind a large stand camera for a self-portrait.

Self portrait Boris Ignatowitsch, 1930
© MAMM/Photo: B. Ignatowitsch

Man at work

Photographs by Boris Ignatovich and Arkadiy Schaikhet

Gallery at the Photo Technology permanent exhibition

23 March to 26 June 2016

Black and white photo: Road construction with heavy equipment: two steam rollers compact the road surface. Both a woman and a man sit at the wheel of the massive vehicles. They drive past one another.

Compacting asphalt with steamrollers, 1930s © MAMM / Photo: B. Ignatowitsch

A Soviet worker concentrates on his work at a workbench. Another, powerfully controls the huge wheel of a paper mill.

The exhibition presents twenty selected photographs by Arkadiy Schaikhet and Boris Ignatovich. They show people working in construction, as a shoemaker or in metal processing in the 1920s and 1930s in the Soviet Union.

The main focus in many of the photographs is the interplay between man and machine.

The photographers

Arkadiy Schaikhet (1898 – 1959) is regarded as one of the founders of Soviet journalistic photographs. Boris Ignatovich (1899 – 1976) is one of the pioneers of Soviet avant-garde photography alongside El Lissitzky and Alexander Rodchenko.

Black and white photo: Soviet farmers ploughing an extremely large field with lots of tractors side-by-side and behind one another.

Tractors, Saratov region, 1929 © M. Zhotikova-Schaichet / Photo: A. Schaichet

Ignatovich and Schaikhet belonged to two different, at times warring, schools of Soviet photography.
The group around Ignatovich, Lissitzky and Rodchenko's focused on the constructivist means of style in their photographs. They experimented with unconventional angles, cropped images and various geometric shapes. As constructivists, they are now considered to be part of the Soviet avant-garde.

In contrast, Schaikhet and his colleagues emphasised the importance of the documentary image without any distortion.

Despite belonging to different schools, numerous parallels can be discovered in their work. The play with geometrical shapes and unconventional picture compositions exist in the work of both photographers.

Schaikhet and Ignatovich earned their living as photo reporters and newspaper editors. They did not see themselves as artists – they regarded themselves as photo reporters and journalists who depicted the lives of people. They considered it their duty to document the construction of the socialist state and to support it in this way.

Graphic: Logo German-Russian Museum, Berlin-Karlshorst

Graphic: Logo  Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow

With the kind support of the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst and Maria Zhotikova-Schaikhet.

The Exhibition was prepared with the participation of Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow/Moscow House of Photography Museum.

Header photo: A worker at the control wheel of a paper mill, Balachna, 1929
© M. Zhotikova-Schaichet/photo: A. Schaichet