Quotes by
Alexander Rodchenko

[1891 – 1956] Soviet graphic artist, sculptor, painter and photographer

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.

‘Warning’, “Novy Lef” No. 11, 1928. [cited in: “Creative Camera International Year Book 1978”, Coo Press, London, 1977, p. 228 – 229]

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