MAX PENSON (1893-1959)
Max Zakharovich Penson (March 17, 1893, Velizh, Russia - 1959, Tashkent, Uzbek SSR) - a famous Uzbek photographer, photo artist, photojournalist for the newspaper Pravda Vostoka and the All-Union news agency TASS.
Max Penson was born into a poor family in the town of Velizh, Vitebsk province, on March 17, 1893, in the family of a bookbinder, an employee of a local printing house. He graduated from the Velizh city school in 1911, then for six months he studied at the art school in Mirgorod, Poltava province, and then at the art and industrial school of the Antokolsky society (in the decorative and painting department) in Vilno.
In 1915, Max Penson moved with his family to Kokand, where until 1917 he worked first as an accountant and at the same time as a drawing teacher at a local school. Then from 1917 to 1922 he worked in the Kokand Department of Public Education as the head of training and production workshops. In 1921, his life changed dramatically when he received a camera. In the period from 1920-1940. he became one of the prominent professional photographers of Uzbekistan and the Soviet Union, who captured the life of the people and changes in economic progress. During this period, he shot over 30,000 photographs.
Since 1923, by order of the People's Commissariat for Education, he was recalled to the city of Tashkent. Then, after staff reduction in the People's Commissariat for Education, he worked until 1925 as an accountant in a tobacco workshop in Tashkent. From 1925 he began to make photo reports and from 1926 he began to work as a photojournalist in the editorial office of the newspaper Pravda Vostoka. His photo reports were very popular in the Soviet Union in the 20s and 30s of the XX century. Collaborated with the magazine "USSR in Construction". His most famous photograph - the portrait of the "Uzbek Madonna", which received the highest award at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937, depicts a liberated Muslim woman taking off her chador and breastfeeding a baby.
In 1939, he photographed the construction of the Great Fergana Canal. In 1940 Penson met Sergei Eisenstein, who said of him:
“There are not many craftsmen in the world who have chosen a specific territory for their work, who have devoted themselves entirely to it, and have made it an integral part of their own destiny. It is impossible to talk about Ferghana without mentioning the ubiquitous Penson, who walked with his camera throughout Uzbekistan. Its unparalleled archive contains materials that make it possible to trace one of the periods of the republic's history year after year, page after page. Max Penson's artistic development and his destiny were associated with this wonderful country. "
In 1949 he was forbidden to continue working as a photojournalist. Max Penson died in Tashkent in 1959.
(Photo archive provided by Max Penson's daughter - Dina Khodzhaeva and Sh. Karimbabaeva)