Max Penson: The Photojournalist Who Documented Uzbekistan

The Russian photojournalist was responsible for documenting the economic transformation of Uzbekistan -- from its traditional, feudal system to the modern Soviet republic between 1920 and 1940.

Penson founded an art school in Kokand, Turkestan after the Russian Revolution of 1917 in which he was director and teacher on draftsmanship to 350 Uzbek children. Soon, he obtained a camera which changed his life there, capturing the economic progression with over 30,000 photographs by 1940. Penson also captured the industrialization of the cotton trade in the country. Thus his photographs circulated in Soviet media. He won the Grand Prix Award at the World Exhibition in Paris for his portrait "Uzbek Madonna". FIlm theorist and filmmaker Sergei Einstein would then describe the photographer:

"There cannot be many masters left who choose a specific terrain for their work, dedicate themselves completely to and make it an integrated part of their personal destiny. It is, for instance, virtually impossible to speak about the city of Ferghana without mentioning the omnipresent Penson who travelled all over Uzbekistan with his camera. His unparalleled photo archives contain material that enables us to trace a period in the republic's history, year by year and page by page".

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Images are from PetaPixel.

2017-12-31 #culture #uzbekistan #documentary-photography #max-penson

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