The Spirit of Moscow Streets photo exhibition by photographer Vladimir Stepanov will open on 18 July at the Lumiere Brothers Centre for Photography. Visitors will see over 60 black-and-white photos taken in 1956-1963.
“Vladimir Stepanov has a unique talent for seeing personal, emotional events of everyday life and makes a direct connection with the image subject. It is what Roland Barthes called ‘silent photos’,” the curators say.
Vladimir Stepanov was born in 1940. He began his career in the 1950s, when Soviet photojournalism was under strong censorship and adhered to the principles of staged photography. The West had already heard the names of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau and Robert Frank, and the Soviet stores were selling the Czech Photography magazine which told Soviet photographers about the global trends. The situation began to change during the Thaw.
Vladimir Stepanov, deeply in love with photography and Moscow, walked the city streets and boulevards and peeked into courtyards. He spoke the language of emotions and searched for new forms and expressions. In 1962, Stepanov took part in the Our Youth exhibition in Gorky Park, which was a key event for Soviet photojournalists. Valery Gende-Rote, editor of the Soviet Photo magazine, was impressed by Stepanov’s works, and later his photos were featured on the covers of the Soviet Photo magazine, the Evening Moscow newspaper, and other periodicals. The photos taken by Stepanov provide us with unique memories of bygone Moscow.