The Hermitage Museum is currently hosting a retrospective exhibition of the works of Boris Smelov, the quintessential Petersburg photographer. The exposition comprises more than 90 black and white photographs that together make up a sort of love song to Petersburg and how it appeared in the final quarter of the twentieth century. Boris Smelov was born in Leningrad in 1951 and lived there until his death in 1998, by which point it had of course become Petersburg, forever documenting this ever-changing, yet strangely constant city. He is accredited as one of, if not the most, important Russian photographers and his influence can be seen in the works of other more contemporary artists. The Hermitage Website him thus:
He was a living classic who evoked veneration from all who were somewhat connected to the art of ‘photography’. Critics and professional photographers unanimously acknowledged Boris Smelov as one of the best European masters of photography. The image of St.Petersburg that he created is not only high quality photographs but, undoubtedly, the most eloquent utterance ever said about that city at the end of the last century, the utterance that can be equal to Brodsky’s poetry in its significance.
Here are some of my favourite photos from the exhibition:
Fontanka in Winter
Fan of Sour