Contemporary interest shown in classical genre

Exhibition of pictorial photography in Minsk dedicated to 130th anniversary of birth of its founder

By Vladimir Svetlov

The Metamorphoses exhibition at the National History Museum is devoted to the 130th anniversary of the birth of the founder of pictorial photography, Lev Dashkevich. It showcases works by Margarita Trenina, Albert Tsekhanovich, Natalia Yevmenenko, Alexander Ptakh, Andrey Voskresensky and Maria Bone. These demonstrate various techniques — from gum Arabic and the tin process, to cyanotype, bromofort and the colouring of silver prints.

Pictorial photography is one form of artistic photography, viewed as being similar to painting. Photographic shots are turned into drawings or engravings by playing with light and shadow, using complex methods of printing.

Belarusian photographer Lev Dashkevich (1882-1957) was known for his romantic shots and his unique printing methods, as well as being a teacher of the art of photography. Alongside Jan Bulhak (1876-1950), a classic of Belarusian, Lithuanian and Polish photography, he was among Belarus’ first pictorial photographers.

The flourishing of pictorial photography happened in the age of impressionism and modernism (late 19th-early 20th century), focusing on beautiful and romantic images which primarily imitated painting. Over the course of time, interest has fallen significantly yet famous masters still use the technique today.

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