"The Soviet Union was unique in its formidable and dynamic use of the illustrated book as a means of propaganda.
Through the book, 'The Soviet Photobook 1920-1941', the U.S.S.R. articulated its totalitarian ideologies and expressed its absolute power in an unprecedented way—through avant-garde writing and radical artistic design that was in full flower during the 1920s and ’30s.
No other country, nation, government or political system promoted itself more by attracting and employing acclaimed members of the avant-garde. Among them were writers like Semion KIRSANOV, Vladimir MAYAKOVSKY, Ilya SELVONSKY, Sergei TRETJAKOV and Kornely ZELINSKY; artistic designers like Gustav KLUTSIS, Valentina KULAGINA, EL LISSITZKY, Sergei SENKIN, Varvara STEPANOVA, Solomon TELINGATER and Nikolai TROSHIN; and photographers including Dmitry DEBANOV, Vladimir GRIUNTAL, Boris IGNATOVICH, Alexander KHLEBNIKOV, Yeleazar LANGMAN, Alexander RODCHENKO, Georgy PETRUSOV—not to mention many of the best printers and book binders.
'The Soviet Photobook 1920–1941' presents 160 of the most stunning and elaborately produced photobooks from this period and includes more than 400 additional reference illustrations. The book also provides short biographies of the photobook contributors, some of whom are presented here for the first time." (publisher's note)
"With this amazing publication 'The Soviet Photobook 1920-1941', English-language readers are offered a glimpse into a rarely seen moment of history through the selection and reproduction of approximately 160 Soviet photobooks... Colossal in size and beautifully illustrated, and a fascinating read." (S. M. Quimby, in: CHOICE)
"Chock full of a dizzying number of images on its 600+ pages.... The book's design reflects its subject matter well and includes three pages of index and an extensive glossary of those involved with the creation of or published in the books. I'll be looking at this for years." (Alyssa Coppelman, in: Vantage)
"Students of history will find it a fascinating and heartbreaking reminder of yesterday. Students of photography and design will find it a sobering and provocative look at the kind of visual communication that is still with us today." (Pat Padua, in: Spectrum Culture)
"Gorgeous to look at with an authority to match." (Colin Pantall , in: Bint Photobooks)
about the author Karasik (*1953):
Mikhail Karasik is an artist, publisher, curator of numerous exhibitions of book art, as well as the author of books and articles on the history of the Soviet photobook and the Russian avant-garde culture of the early twentieth century. Karasik is one of the leading creators of artists’ books in Russia and internationally. His works are held in the collections of major museums and libraries including the Russian State Museum, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Centre Pompidou, the British Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Gutenberg-Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, the Getty Research Institute and the Art Institute of Chicago. Karasik lives in Saint Petersburg. Manfred Heiting is a collector, designer, curator and editor. His extensive career in photography includes director of design at Polaroid International, editorial director at American Express and cofounder of Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, FOAM-Fotomuseum Amsterdam and project director of Deutsches Centrum für Fotografie, Berlin. He has curated over fifty exhibitions and designed, edited or published over forty books on photography. He established the Photographic Study Program at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and is a founding member of the Getty Museum Photographs Council.
"Das [...] von Manfred Heiting herausgegeben und gestaltete Buch gibt einen in 17 Kapitel [...] geordneten Überblick mit 165 einzelnen Werken. Diese mögen seinerzeit große Auflagen gehabt haben, doch heute sind sie sehr selten und im westlichen Ausland praktisch nicht erreichbar. Von daher ist das üppig ausgebreitete Material an Reproduktionen von unschätzbarem Wert, denn die vorgestellten Bücher wird man normalerweise entweder gar nicht oder nur unter großen Schwierigkeiten [...] zu Gesicht bekommen." (Thomas Wiegand)