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Illustrating Russia  

 

Patrick Rössler
Joined: 6 months ago
Posts: 19
 

Dear Phaedra,

many thanks for this concise insight into a magazine I never took notice of before. I did quite some research on "USSR in Construction", however, which also aimed at illustrating Russia, but of course the progress in the revolutionary period. Although it was published in four languages and distributed in countries around the globe, its primary target group was different, but I would assume that as a secondary target group, Russians living abroad could have been relevant, in order to convince them of the virtues of the new society.

My question is: While looking at "Russia illustrated", did you find any reference to "USSR in construction", either directly or more indirect by disclosing the propagandic nature of its coverage? Many thanks for a brief comment -
Patrick


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Phaedra Claeys
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 2
 

Dear Patrick,

Thank you for watching my presentation and for your question! There is no mention or direct nor indirect reference to “USSR in Construction” in Illustrated Russia. Although Soviet propaganda is regularly mentioned in IR (and is consistently denounced), it is always in the form of news reports on parades and manifestations, or on the way the Soviet propaganda machine uses children to its benefit. The only Soviet publications mentioned in IR are literary magazines and novels.

Out of curiosity: you mentioned that "USSR in Construction" was published in four languages. Do you know whether its content differed depending on the language and, thus, target audience? I am asking because their is the interesting case of the émigré art journal Firebird (Zhar Ptitsa, which I briefly mention early in my presentation), whose selection of short stories in translation differed depending on the target audience and their assumed expectations of Russians and Russianness.

Phaedra


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Josie Johnson
Joined: 6 months ago
Posts: 12
 

Hello Phaedra and Patrick,

I thought I would jump in here to help answer Phaedra's question. I have done a bit of research on USSR in Construction, and without looking too closely at each issue, I have noticed occasional discrepancies in the way photographs are retouched or which texts/translations are presented. But, I have not seen any major differences in content like completely different texts printed for different audiences. The USSR in Construction discrepancies seem to be more of a function of the labor required to prepare multiple editions than any deliberate program of alterations. Perhaps Patrick has more insight (and thanks, Patrick, for your question--I was wondering the same thing). 

Phaedra, do you have a sense of where the majority of the photographs in the issues came from? Specific photographers or agencies, or are they uncredited?

Thank you!

Josie


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Phaedra Claeys
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 2
 

Hello Josie,

Thank you for answering my question!

The vast majority of photographs in Illustrated Russia are uncredited. Only in a handful of cases the photographers or agencies are mentioned, I found G.L. Manuel frères, M. Gilliard, RussFoto, Photos-Presse and World Wide Photos.

Phaedra

 


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Josie Johnson
Joined: 6 months ago
Posts: 12
 

Thanks for this, Phaedra! Super interesting. I would love to know more about those agencies--I wonder if they saw themselves in competition with the Soviet versions (Sovfoto and Press Cliche). I'm sure there is much more to excavate here!


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