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, 15th September at 7 p.m.

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 'Vremia' ('time' in Russian).

One of its 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 spanning 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—at a time when the museum's photographic archive was still waiting to being classified—Russian troops invade Ukraine and massively shell 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 interesting photographic movements of the 20th century and pays tribute to the defence of a photographic legacy threatened by the illogical forces of authoritarianism.

Written by Roger Grasas

Practical information and booking:
Where?: Fundació Foto Colectania (Passeig Picasso, 14. Barcelona).
General admission: 5 €. Free for Benefactors, Friends and students of Friend Schools of Foto Colectania .

Limited places, with prior reservation. Book your place here.

Payment of entry ticket at the ticket office of Foto Colectania on the day of the event.


  • Damm Foundation
  • Fujifilm