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Photography as a historical document

04 December 2013

Photoexhibition “Manifest TRIVA” in Erarta is a time-machine which allows one to go back to the Soviet past and look at it through the prism of contemporary context.

Two halls of Erarta host a collection of unique documentary photographs. Those are the pictures taken by the first officially registered TRIVA group which existed in late 1970s–early 1980s in Novokuznetsk.

The group’s name is an abbreviation made of its participants’ names — Vladimir Vorobiev, Vladimir Sokolaev and Aleksandr Trofimov. They all used to work at Novokuznetsk iron and steel factory and documented the daily life of the biggest manufacturing plant in USSR.

Sergei Samoilenko, the head of the Siberian branch of the State Center of Contemporary art, is convinced that the exhibition is a “perfect cure for Soviet nostalgia because the audience is offered a very diverse approaches to Soviet reality. One can see both the admiration of metallurgists’ labour and highlighted absurdities of the epoch”.

The photos include images of hospitals and industrial settings, of demonstrations and holidays. Those are not pompous portraits of Soviet realism. Unusual angles and eloquent details allow seeing a picture of a small person and his/her life in a turbulent country.

“The truth is hung on walls. It is documentary photography. It is not commissioned”, — says one of TRIVA members Vladimir Sokolaev. — Every photographer has to choose either photography over personality or vice versa. In our case any personal influence is reduced to minimum. The author does not exist in documentary photography. While he disappears, a story emerges”.

About the exhibition
text by Olga Safroshina, photo by Vitaly Kolikov