September 01, 2017

From War to Peace

Despite their prominence and prolific photographic profiles, the names Maks Vladimirovich Alpert, Mark Stepanovich Redkin, Yevgeny Ananevich Khaldei, Dmitry Nikolayevich Baltermants and Vsevolod Sergeyevich Tarasevich are largely overlooked and unknown outside of the former Soviet Union.

Though Khaldei’s photograph Raising a Flag over the Reichstag is one of the most renowned images of Soviet victory in the Battle of Berlin (made infamous and anecdotal because the original photograph was edited to remove a second wrist-watch from the arms of one of the Soviet soldiers), the notoriety of the photograph fails to reflect the important and sometimes conflicted role photojournalism played in the Soviet Union both before and after the Second World War.

Alpert, Redkin, Khaldei, Baltermants and Tarasevich were all photojournalists before Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. In the immediate prewar period, throughout the 1930s, military themes – tank and airborne exercises, paratroopers, and infantry drills – were popular with editors at illustrated journals and magazines. Yet the first days of World War II demonstrated that, while photojournalists were prepared to photograph military exercises, they were less than prepared for actual wartime photojournalism.

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