Bohdan Shumylovych. Seeing Myself Seeing Myself: Meditating on the Subjectivity of the Kharkiv Photography

I like the following characterization by Ekaterina Diogot: "Kharkiv photography of the 1970s and 1980s as a phenomenon was a part of Soviet post-war unofficial culture, which, in turn, was rooted in the socialist economy".1 There are important discourse forms here: instead of a contradictory definition of school, the expression "Kharkiv photography" is used, the space is outlined – the Soviet post-war world, and reference is made to materiality, in particular the socialist mode of production and how it created free time. Free time, which became a subject of study for Soviet sociologists in the 1960's, was considered the main measure of the success of the socialist project. And the ability to use this time to good advantage, to develop oneself and others, to practice culture and art (including photography), had to indicate the emergence of a new Soviet man. The existence of this man as a fait accompli was proclaimed by the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Leonid Brezhnev, in his speeches in the early 1970s. It was at that time in Kharkiv (and other cities of the Ukrainian SSR) that groups were being actively formed by people, many of whom thought of themselves as photographers, who documented or "represented" this new Soviet man in their photographs.

The full text of the article is available at Eurozine.