Witness to history. The photograpahs of Yevgeny Khaldei
Yevgeny Khaldei was born in 1917, just months before the Bolshevik Revolution. While he had only four grades of school – poverty forced him to take a job cleaning steam engines – by the age of fifteen he had crafted a camera for himself out of a cardboard box and his grandmother’s spectacles. Before long, his heroic images of Soviet life were appearing in Pravda. At age eighteen, Khaldei was hired by TASS. By the end of World War II Khaldei was twenty-eight and one of Russia’s greatest combat photographers. Three years later, in a period of heightened repression, he was fired from TASS. After Stalin’s death he became reassociated with Pravda, photographing artists, musicians, writers, and heads of state. He remained with Pravda until 1972, when a resurgence of state anti-Semitism forced his retirement. Khaldei’s photographs are a powerful and poignant documentation of twentieth-century history. Now eighty years old, he still resides in Moscow.
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