Alexander Mikhailovich Rodchenko


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Alexander was born November 23, 1891, in St. Petersburg. Though not very much is known about Alexander's child, it is believed that he never finished his formal education. A lot of his early work in the art school that he attended (Kazan School of Art) were paintings inspired by his father's work in the theater. Alexander's interest in photography came from watching two of his friends one of which was interested in textures, the other in geometric shapes. Alexander watched them and then took a more scientific approach to his photography interested mainly in odd angles.
While I'm researching Alexander for his photography techniques, he was also artistic in many other ways. He was a painter, sculptor, writer, teacher, as well as designing costumes for plays. That was mostly his early work though. In the 1920's his main interest was photography. However, by the 1930's he began to get bored of Russia as it turned conservative and went back to his early paintings.
Alexander's look on photography and his subjects is clearly stated in this quote of his:
“In order to educate man to a new longing, everyday familiar objects must be shown to him with totally unexpected perspectives and in unexpected situations. New objects should be depicted from different sides in order to provide a complete impression of the object.”

His belief in this is shown in his photo's with which he is known for his use of odd angles to capture his subjects. It is shown that Alex believed that everything could interest anyone as long as it was looked at in the right way. He was also known for his use of photo-series, taking pictures of the same subject in multiple ways doing multiple things.

Other Facts:
  • Alexander was married to a woman named Varvara Stepanova.
  • He had two children, a son and a daughter.
  • Was one of the starters of constructivism.
    • Style of art that was severely abstract and simple.
  • He was hated for the last few years of his life, seen as an outcast because people started to see him as a formalist.
    • Someone that is obsessed with things being one way and only one way, not letting anyone change their mind about it.
    • He would not change his techniques for photography so as Russia became more conservative they wanted to focus more on traditional views which Alexander did not follow. .
  • He died in Moscow on December 3, 1956.

Some of Alexander's photography:

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Comparing Alexander's photography to my own:
Of course Alexander's work was all done in black and white film where as now I can use color film, which I prefer. One of my main focuses is also strange angles and have many different subject choices. However Alex's photos were had far more extreme angles than my photos. Also, Alex's photography technique of photo-series is something I don't use, taking pictures of the same subject often bores me. I'm also not very much of a formalist like he was, I'll use many different techniques where as he stuck to his only. Alexander's work actually inspires me to try to use more extreme angles.

Examples of my own:

Work Cited: