KHARKIV SCHOOL of PHOTOGRAPHY.  From resistance against Soviet censorship to defence against Russian invasion
© Gosprom 'Group's Poster' 1985

KHARKIV SCHOOL of PHOTOGRAPHY. From resistance against Soviet censorship to defence against Russian invasion

Thursday, September 15 at 19 h

Back in the 1970s, when art photography was widely censored or even banned in the USSR, a group of young Ukrainian authors gave rise to one of the most unique cultural and aesthetic movements in Eastern Europe: the Kharkiv School of Photography. Eight photographers, including Jury Rupin, Evgeniy Pavlov and Boris Mikhailov, joined together in resistance to the prevailing aesthetic dogma of socialist realism, founding an independent group of creative and conceptual photography which they called themselves 'Vremia' ('time' in Russian).

One of his most important aesthetic innovations was the so-called 'Blow theory', according to which the photographic statement should produce a violent visual impact. Another contribution was Bad Photography, which critics described as the first example of conceptualism in Soviet photography. After the 'Vremia' group, the city of Kharkiv would also host the prolific 'Gosprom Group' (1985), the 'Immediate Reaction Group' (1995) and the 'Shilo Group' (2010) giving continuity to a movement that has endured for more than half a century. In 2018, the brand new Kharkiv School of Photography Museum opened its doors with the intention of preserving and disseminating this vast and extraordinary photographic legacy.

Four years later - and when the Museum's photographic archive was not even classified - Russian troops invaded Ukraine and massively shelled Kharkiv. While Museum workers risk their lives to safeguard this valuable collection, some of the representatives of the Kharkiv School of Photography are still holding out in the devastated city. Others have fled, leaving their archives behind.

This lecture tells the story of one of the most peculiar photographic movements of the 20th century and pays tribute to the defence of a photographic legacy bombarded by authoritarianism and unreason.

Written by Roger Grasas

Practical information and booking:
Where?: Fundació Foto Colectania (Passeig Picasso, 14. Barcelona).
General price: 5 €. Free for Benefactors, Friends and students of Escuelas Amigas de Foto Colectania .

Limited seating, with previous reservation. Book your place here.

The payment of the tickets will be made at the ticket office of Foto Colectania the same day of the event.


  • Damm Foundation
  • Fujifilm