Photo of the 1960s

Issue #3-4 • 960

In 1960s the Soviet Photo magazine published articles by Ural Tansykbaev, the People’s Artist of Uzbekistan, and Saeed Akhmad, writer, dedicated to the art of photography.

Today, when the art of photography is given a lot of attention in our country and the Tashkent House of Photography (THP) has been established, when it is now a good tradition to hold photo exhibitions and contests, including international ones, and when the participation of local photo artists in overseas exhibitions and international Photo-biennale held in Tashkent contributed to the recognition of the THP in many countries of the world and its accession to the most authoritative International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) as collective member, the articles written almost 50 year ago by the masters of fine arts and literature Tansykbaev and Akhmad demonstrate the authors’ foresight and appear particularly relevant. For this reason the editorial board of the “SAN’AT” journal offers them to contemporary readers.

Companions in Arts

Once an acquaintance of mine, a geologist, said that he enthusiastically engaged in photography and his success in this domain would soon outshine painting. It often happens that photography is set off against painting. Some people seriously believe that with the development of photography there will be no need in painting or graphic art. Others have no trust in photo artists. In my view, this is a profound misconception.

Photography was never my passion, but I follow its development with keen interest. It is obvious to me that contemporary art photography in our country and abroad has made a lot of progress. Many shots make the viewer think and invoke powerful emotions. Not to mention photojournalism – its role in creating photographic history of our life is simply invaluable.

Yet photography cannot substitute painting, especially landscape painting.

For me, the landscape painter, it is important not only to record the specificities of a particular area – this would be the job of a topographer, but to feel the beauty that surrounds me, to get all the impressions from nature and comprehend it with my mind and heart.

I have recently returned from the Pamir. There, on the spurs of Altay mountains many travellers and scientists have been, and their photographs provide a very comprehensive idea about the beautiful and austere nature of this land. Yet what I have seen and experienced I can only communicate on a canvas.

Certainly, everything depends on the hands holding a palette or a camera. Everything depends on a particular individual and his aesthetic taste and his artistic perception of life.

To see the beauty in life and record it by means of photography and captivate the viewer with this beauty – that is the job of a photo art master. A photographer with the eyes and heart of an artist will find wonders in life, which may go unnoticed by a landscape painter.

Each of these kinds of art – photography and painting – has its own specific means of expression. One can only encourage our Uzbek masters of photography, and especially amateurs, who enthusiastically, with inspiration and skill, create the statue of a new Muse – the one of photography. Although, in my mind, this statue exists only in the outline yet, one can hope that with time it will be presented to us in all its splendour. This is bound to happen, because photography has now become the art of the masses. I would like to wish our companions in art great success in pursuing this noble cause.

Ural Tansykbaev, People’s Artist of Uzbekistan

Biography in Every Frame

For thirty years I have enthusiastically engaged in photography, for thirty years I have carried a camera over my shoulder. Over these years I have visited many cities and villages, I met and talked with lots of people. All this is captured on a film.

There are hundreds of films in my archive. Sometimes I take them and contemplate them at length. I see my youth passing before my eyes with its many travels and interesting encounters. I recall the vastness of the Black Sea and white-winged seagulls over the waves of Baltika, the statues of Petrodvorets, the charming nights by lake Ritz, the foothills of Mashuk, the monument of Janis Reinis in Riga awash in flowers and greenery, The Moscow University on Lenin mountains, the tomb of Ulugbek, the Pakhtakor stadium… You name it!

Here on this photo is Navoi Street in Tashkent. The picture was taken twenty five years ago. Low-rise earthen houses, crooked little alley…

On another film there is yet untamed Syrdarya River photographed long before the Farkhad power plant was built. And here is a waste ground on which the Tashkent textile mill was constructed later on.

These frames are my biography.

Over the recent years many new things appeared in my photo collection. The capital city of the republic hosted a conference of writers from Asia and Africa, and my hospitable city was carefully preparing for it. Streets and squares are decorated with the garlands of festive illumination. Representatives from faraway Africa, guests from China, India, Japan and the United Arab Republic walk the streets gay with the visitors’ many-coloured garments. Festivals, sport competitions, festive marches – my films tell about it all.

I am not the only one who gives his spare time to photography. Many writers, scholars and artists in our republic never part with a camera. One of them is writer Abdulla Kahhar, who travelled half the globe with his inseparable friend, his camera. And what about Ubai Arifov, our distinguished President of the Academy of Sciences of the Uzbek SSR? He is known to be a true fan of photography.

Last summer I visited the mountains of Tien-Shan. The picture of Tien-Shan tunnel I took was published in Moscow newspapers.

Over my lifetime I have taken lots of pictures, but I have never contrived to photograph a flash of a lightning. Even today, as soon as I hear the sound of a thunderstorm, like a young boy, I rush into the yard and stand there long time with a camera in my hand, ready to press the button.

For me, photography is everything – art, science, and recreation.

Saeed Akhmad, writer

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