6830 PAGES TODAY    

[1891 – 1956] Soviet graphic artist, sculptor, painter and photographer
Contradictions of perspective. Contrasts of light. Contrasts of form. Points of view impossible to achieve in drawing and painting. Foreshortenings with a strong distortion of the objects, with a crude handling of matter. Moments altogether new, never seen before... compositions whose boldness outstrips the imagination of painters... Then the creation of those instants which do not exist, contrived by means of photomontage. The negative transmits altogether new stimuli to the sentient mind and eye. - Alexander Rodchenko

Photography has all the rights, and all the merits, necessary for us to turn towards it as the art of our time. - Alexander Rodchenko - German Karginov, Rodtchenko, Editions du Chene, Paris, 1977

In order to educate man to a new longing, everyday familiar objects must be shown to him with totally unexpected perspectives and in unexpected situations. New objects should be depicted from different sides in order to provide a complete impression of the object. - Alexander Rodchenko

Don’t try to capture a man in one synthetic portrait, but rather in lots of snapshots taken at different times and in different circumstances. - Alexander Rodchenko, Photography Year 1980, LIFE Library of Photography , Page: 32

The viewer who sees only a study in the picture of the glass jug illuminated from behind fails to appreciate the masterly composition, the noble purity of the lines, the rich plasticity of the form and consequently also the poetry and beauty of the picture, and still more important, its specifically photographic qualities. - Alexander Rodchenko
Send the Quote in Email

One has to take several different shots of a subject, from different points of view and in different situations, as if one examined it in the round rather than looked through the same key-hole again and again. - Alexander Rodchenko

Every photo group knows what to photograph; but how to photograph only a few know. A worker photographed as if he was Christ or an aristocrat, a working girl as if a Madonna are eloquent examples of what not to do. To state it more clearly we must find a new aesthetic (do not be afraid of the word aesthetic). Let us look for and find a forward-looking enthusiasm to present our new Socialist reality by photography.
The shot of a newly-built factory is not a simple object but a source of pride and joy in the industrialization of our country and that is what we must show – the “how” of photography. To do this we are duty bound to experiment. To photograph simple facts, just as describing them simply; that is nothing new and in that is the harm. Painting can cover up the simply portrayed fact, just as writing can cover up the simply described fact. So you, you worshippers of facts do not describe them so simply. This, comrades you quickly forget, who of the right and who is of the left.
He is not “Lef” who merely photographs facts, but he who fights against a “la Art” photographs with photography of the highest quality. And for this experimentation is necessary, even to the point of ‘Stankovisation’ of the profession. What is ‘Stankovised’ photograph ? Such a term is really non-existent, but think about it; it could be experimental photography. Do not learn theoretically, ignoring the advice of practical workers. Abstract theories for practitioners were invented by the aesthetic theoretician – they are an enormous danger.
- Alexander Rodchenko - ‘Warning’, “Novy Lef” No. 11, 1928. [cited in: “Creative Camera International Year Book 1978”, Coo Press, London, 1977, p. 228 – 229]

Art has no place in modern life. It will continue to exist as long as there is a mania for the romantic and so long as there are people who love beautiful lies and deception... Every modern cultured man must wage war against art, as against opium... Photograph and be photographed. - Alexander Rodchenko

Only the camera seems to be really capable of describing modern life. - Alexander Rodchenko

Damn it, nobody knows what is beautiful and what is not. They do not understand new things. - Alexander Rodchenko

Photography—the new, rapid, concrete reflector of the world—should surely undertake to show the world from all vantage points, and to develop people’s capacity to see from all sides. - Alexander Rodchenko

Revolution in the photographic field consists in photographing in such a way that photography will have enough strength not just to rival painting, but also to point out to everyone a new and modern way of discovering the world of science, of technology and everyday life. - Alexander Rodchenko

Landscapes, heads and naked women are called artistic photography, while photographs of current events are called press photography. - Alexander Rodchenko

We struggle against easel painting not because it is an aesthetic form of painting, but because it is not modern, for it does not succeed in bringing out the technical side, it is a redundant, exclusive art, and cannot be of any use to the masses. Hence we are struggling not against painting but against photography carried out as if it were an etching, a drawing, a picture in sepia or watercolor. - Alexander Rodchenko

... we must set out—and we will surely find—a new aesthetics, able to express in photography the aspirations and pathos of our new socialist reality. - Alexander Rodchenko

This new, fast, realistic representation of the world—the photograph—must, by virtue of its potential, be occupied with showing us the world from all angles, developing in us a capacity to see from all sides. When I first took up photography, giving up painting, I did not then realise the heavy hand that painting had laid on photography. You understand, then, that the most interesting points of view for contemporary photography are looking down from high up, up from low down, anything but straight 'from the navel' ? The contemporary city with its many storeyed houses, specially constructed factories and mills, windows of two or three storeys, the tramways, the motor car, ubiquitous illuminated signs, ocean liners, aeroplanes, all of this... has altered willy-nilly, albeit not by a great deal, the accustomed psychology of visual perception. It would seem that only the camera is in a position to reflect life today. - Alexander Rodchenko - Alexander Rodchenko writing in Novy Lef, 1928, No. 9.

<< PREVIOUS  .  HOME  .  NEXT >>

Leave Comments

Recommend this site
to your friend