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Russia in Pictures: 1955 to 1960

Kaliningrad, Victory square
Kaliningrad, Victory Square (1950s Alexander Cheburkin Family)

Seeing Russia through the camera lens can be a transformative experience, especially for those in the west who have had so little information about the people and landscape of the world's biggest country. Our Russia will explore the differences and similarities that differentiate and bring the world closer together. Here is the first in an ongoing series, "Russia in Pictures".

The immutable appeal of children is our most universally emblematic sense. This photo from 1955 could be from anywhere, Russia's agrarian roots show through, just as my southern heritage would if this were a photo of me and my cousin Clifford from back then. 

"Friends" from 1955 (MAMM / MDF)

This image so clearly mimics the aesthetic advertising in the United States, it's almost haunting. The manucured nails, the so clearly promotional aspect, it's as if the "Ad Men" visited Moscow in 1957. Again, for any Baby Boomer in the US, knowing Russians lived exactly as we did is an eerie sort of realization. 

(MAMM / MDF 1957)

The image below is highly suggestive, though seemingly ordinary. For one thing, the Russia-Ukraine connection back in the late 1950s is subtly reflected, as is the realism in seeing people in Soviet times doing tasks in the same was westerners did. I can recall back in the early 60s, none of our parents perceived the Soviet citizen living anything like the way we did. It was as if the Soviet Union was a country made of aliens from outer space. 

Vladimir Orlov, a foreman, and part-time students Odessa hydrotechnical Institute in the laboratory in the classroom. (Kiev Ukrainian SSR 1950 - MAMM / MDF)

Another "mirror" into the Soviet society. How many times have we seen such scenes on the steps of courthouses, outside drug stores, in front of hotel? 

Entitled "Pravda" from 1958 (MAMM / MDF)

The film genre is an aspect of Soviet times which never really even existed in the minds of most westerners back in the 50s and 60s. The image below shows two very famous artists in a wonderful film only Soviet citizens ever saw back then. Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov and starring Tatyana Samojlova, the film is one of the very few people outside the Soviet Union were introduced to, via the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.

Tatiana Samoilov and Innokenty Smoktunovsky in the film "Unsent Letter" (MAMM / MDF 1959)