The exhibition presents more than 200 photographs from the collections of the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO, the A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theater Museum, the Saint Petersburg State Museum of Theater and Musical Art and the Russian National Library as well as the works by the modern Saint Petersburg-based theater photographers.

Theater photography has used to highlight priorities differently at different ages. In the second half of the 19th century opera stars and theater celebrities used to sit for portraits at renowned photo studios. The situation changed in the 20th century when specially invited photographers began to shoot the performances right at the theaters, while the contemporary photo artists take interest in nearly everything that takes place in the theaters, be it on the stage, at the rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms or theater workshops. Altogether, it helps to unveil the photo potential of theater to the full extent.

Among other things, the display features the portraits of renowned theater figures, photographs of performances and rehearsals. The three-century-long photographic overview gives the guests an opportunity to trace the changes and milestones in the development of theatrical photography.

Theater photography has come a long way from multi-figured horizontal compositions of the late 19th century, rhythmic silhouette-oriented pictures of the 1920–30s, shootings of theater performances during the mid and late Soviet period to the photo works of cotemporary masters who pay much attention to exclusive visual aspects of stage productions.

The displayed photographs render special features of different theater genres: drama, opera, puppetry, pantomime as well as modern intermedia. The art pieces on view illustrate the talents of theater directors, actors, singers, mime artists, stage designers, etc.

Concurrently with the exhibition ROSPHOTO holds the annual scientific conference Photography in Museum, which is dedicated to the theater-related photographic collections and archives of the Russian Federation.

Exhibition audio guide:

1. Introduction

2. Theatrical photography. 19th century

3. S.A.T.

4. Meyerhold

5. Soviet theater*

6. Actors

7. Contemporary theater

*Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license to use the track Egmont Overture (performer: Kevin MacLeod):


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