Alexander Rodchenko: the Father of Soviet Constructivism

Having been born in Russia's most revolutionary city, Saint Petersburg, Alexander Rodchenko became the most famous Soviet photographer ever and the father of Soviet constructivism movement. His works were filled with the urge for a change.

He certainly was a very talented multitasker as he tried working as a painter, illustrator, sculptor, and photographer. However, his most notable work was made in photography and illustrations. Rodchenko always worked together with his wife—whom he met at an art college—who was a designer too.

Rodchenko's professional life started after 1917 revolution. During these years he began to do arts and already in a decade he became famous for his unique style that was based on looking for new forms and opportunities and taking his profession as one big experiment.

He refused to follow the existent rules of composition and angle and decided to create something new of his own. Indeed, he managed it. He made portraits of his mother, wife, Mayakovsky, Lilya Brik, as well as hundreds of sports, architecture, and lifestyle photos, crushing all possible rules in photography.

His photos from 1930's received critical acclaim and he was accused of reluctance to follow the objectives of the proletarian photography. Shooting with a different perspective enabled him to deform photos, but make them more vivid and dynamic, which wasn't always what the Soviet government needed.

Rodchenko believed that the photography must become the only true art that captures life in the moments of action.


He once said: "You're walking about an object, building, or person and thinking how you can shoot it... This way, that way, or any other old way? This is how we were taught to take photos looking at the same works of art for thousands of years and using the ancient rules of composition. But we need to revolutionize it and teach people to look at the world from all points and in any kind of lighting."

Alexander Rodchenko died in Moscow in 1956. Currently his grandson, Aleksander Lavrentiev, teaches design and composition in many of Moscow's colleges and universities.

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