Blood, sweat and photos

Blood, sweat and photos

Local photographer Andrei Chepakin is training new generations of devoted photojournalists.

Published: October 10, 2012 (Issue # 1730)


The exhibit has no particular theme, but depicts a variety of subjects.

A selection of the most accomplished work by the students and graduates of local photographer Andrei Chepakin’s school went on show at the beginning of this month in a photo exhibit titled “The Best 2011-2012.”

Hosted at the Karl Bulla Photosalon, a quiet gallery located four floors above Nevsky Prospekt, “The Best” brings together 150 pieces of documentary photography created by students and graduates of Chepakin’s Modern Photo school. Organized by the Karl Bulla Foundation for Historical Photography together with Chepakin’s art association, the exhibit is a significant landmark in the career and creative development of the young photographers.

The exhibit has no particular theme, as each photo depicts its own moment, however it does form a complete and unified whole, which could be described as an exploration of the life of contemporary people. A portrait of a schoolgirl sitting at her desk with her cheeks puffed out, a photo of young men celebrating the Day of the Airborne Forces (on Aug. 2) by jumping into a fountain, or a close-up of President Vladimir Putin greeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel are among the photo stories presented at the exhibit.

“There were so many works that we simply could not find room on the walls for all of them, so we had to place the rest on the floor,” said a gallery representative.

Founded by Chepakin — a prominent documentary photographer and the director of the photo desk at local newspaper Nevskoye Vremya — the Modern Photo school grew from an occasional collaboration into an ongoing project aiming to train future photojournalists and highly qualified specialists who are capable not only of finding a topic for their photo projects, but also of efficiently organizing the entire shooting process, including the visual presentation of the final result.

“At first I thought it would be a one-off project and there would be no more people willing to devote themselves entirely to working in photography,” said Chepakin about his first teaching experience. “Last year, however, some promising new photographers came to me, and the story repeated itself.”


The show could be described as an exploration of contemporary life.

The photos on show at the Karl Bulla Photosalon have already been exhibited in public as a part of a series of photos published by Nevskoye Vremya. The newspaper has a strong visual emphasis, with two photo sections published daily under the titles “Photo Topic” and “Photo of the Day.” The series represents another professional opportunity aspired to by Chepakin’s students, as the best photo reports and single photos serve as regular content for these two sections.

Among the photographers whose work can be seen at the Karl Bulla Photosalon are four graduates of Chepakin’s school who were his very first students: Yury Goldenshtein, Yelena Ignatieva, Alyona Kalinina and Viktoria Lamzina. Today they are not only full-fledged professionals, but also Chepakin’s colleagues, who continue to work with him as a team in varying circumstances.

At the time, envisaging the school as a one-off, Chepakin thought they would be his only students. This year, however, the Modern Photo school opens its doors to a new generation of promising students who are willing to go all out to become the next wave of successful documentary photographers.

“The Best 2011-2012” runs through Oct. 31 at the Karl Bulla Photosalon, 54 Nevsky Prospekt. M. Gostiny Dvor. Tel. +7 921 429 6369.

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