“Every morning, every single day in our family began with photographs in the literal sense of the word. They were everywhere: on the table, chairs, window sills, shelves, vases, on the floor, on ropes in the middle of the rooms - in places, according to my father's mistaken opinion, difficult to reach and therefore forbidden for us. The most unexpected object of the house, which came to life in the morning and buzzed with bustle until late in the evening, was "crowned" with the saints and taboo - the father's photograph, printed at night, when all of us - the kids of the minifootball team - were fast asleep. Now the pictures had to lie down and dry up, and in no case should we interfere with this process. There were so many of them that, while we ran to the washstand, we managed to casually make out a detailed picture of some construction or meeting of party activists. For some, Life in Photography is a formula of existence in art, for me it was a literal rhyme of a category. I was really surrounded by a photograph of my childhood, conversations about it: meetings with my father's colleagues-friends Borey Kudoyarov. Georgy Zelma, Sirotkin and Glauberzon. "
These words belong to Dina Khodzhaeva, nee Penson, the first professional female photographer in Uzbekistan. with his tool - a camera - that created a photo chronicle of the republic of the 1950-1980s. Sounds like a solemn eulogy of the bygone pre-capitalist era, the time of construction projects and cotton victorious reports. However, the pathos of this statement is not far-fetched; it stems from the real historical logic of the country's development.
"The first photographer" of the Central Asian region of the USSR. Noting the gender subtext in this formulation, armed with knowledge of the struggles and conquests of feminist movements around the world, let's not forget the special path of the East to universal human values in the past XX century. Her father - the great Max Penson - Back in the 1930s, they were anathematized and stoned for harmless attempts to make photographs of Uzbek women without veils, not to mention breastfeeding Muslim Madonnas. A leap in development is a very painful factor, and not always justified. “A woman is a camel, which must carry a man through the desert of life "- may a phrase of eastern husbands, and to this day defining the place and position of women in the social hierarchy. And suddenly this is a camera in the hands of a free and independent person (and even in trousers, if you like, this is not just an attack, but a challenge to a conservative Islamized society.) Developed socialism does not count, one thing is to report the report of the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan on the emancipation and free labor of women, and another - the seamy reality with its traditions and exhausting conventions, and often obscurantism.
Dina Khodzhaeva already knew everything about photography when her peers taught the multiplication table or the mystery of behavior of an insidious bisector at school. The granite of photo science was not easy - these were not lectures by a venerable photojournalist to his children in the family circle. “When I asked my father to show me how best to use the device in this or that case, I received a sharp rebuke in my address: guess yourself”. At the same time, but for some occasion (obviously, the fee arrived in time) the device was still presented by dad, and it was a gift for life, you don't need another one. And it was just as natural, as if a new shoe was presented to a child in the family of a shoemaker. True, this would not lead to the conclusion that the next generation shoemaker was born in the family. And Dina did not immediately realize that she had the right to try herself in the field of a photographer - after all, this is not taught anywhere, such a diploma is not given. However, knowledge is power and skill is experience. When Max Zakharovich had a “hack”, all four - two boys and two girls - selflessly helped his father print photographs. It's not even about replenishing the family budget, which is important in itself, but in the special atmosphere of a close elbow and a loving heart. The educational effect was not slow to show itself: two guys became professional photographers, they stood firmly on their feet and knew what they wanted. And Dina? Becoming a photojournalist was not part of her plans. However, meeting with one person changed, if not everything, then a lot.
It was Vsevolod Tarasevich. A brilliant master, a post-war photobog. A native of Tashkent, he often visited his homeland. Acquaintance with the daughter of the legendary Penson gradually passed from the category of a curiosity into a serious hobby. Dina learned a lot from him, the secrets of the profession were revealed by Tarasevich "at the click". The seeds of experience, knowledge and taste have fallen on genetically rich soil. Photography is like painting, you can tell about secrets, share techniques, but without an innate intuitive sense of composition, sharpness of the eye and quick reaction, nothing can be achieved. It is bestowed by someone from another register, heavenly, without explanation and tortured spells. One of the photographs-portraits of Dina flaunts the inscription of the young master - “To the future master of photo reportage from Vsevolod Tarasevich. 1951, Tashkent ". It often happens in life - a series of circumstances, meetings surprisingly changes one's fate, radically turns the prepared plan of future events for the future. Faizulla Khojaev. one of the first graduates of VGIK in Uzbekistan, a graduate of the legendary screenwriter and director Mikhail Romm, was precisely the reason that changed the entire course of Dina Penson's life. Khodjayev, himself a brilliant personality, documentary filmmaker and author of numerous scripts, director of many embodied film projects, gave Dina confidence in his abilities, convinced her of the need to continue her photographic experiments, gradually drawing her into his seething orbit.
One of the first serious business trips of the emerging creative alliance "Khodzhaev-Khodzhaev" happened to places that were not so enviable. This is a colossal campaign for the development of saline lands, which are still unsuitable for agricultural needs in the area of the Hungry Steppe. The year is 1957, the debunked cult, the demand and the need to divert human resources to loud propaganda projects, away from reflections on the "lost time" and "lost generation". It is the time of absolutely insane fears to break the “garden city” in the shortest possible time, where the earth covered with an impressive salt layer cracked with a destructive craquelure. Where, except for camel thorns, nothing else In principle grows. “If you want to eat this cake, you will not stuff it into the horn with a cent. You will break it down and only then start eating. So Hungry ”Steppe. You cannot master it all at once. Piece by piece. Patience! This is the main thing. Work patiently and the earth will love you and reward you generously. " Thus, through the mouth of his hero - the Uzbek farmer Yarmat-ota - the author of the essay F. Khojaev found the necessary verbal equivalent to what was happening. Dina also gave her equivalent - the pictorial one in this material. The essay "The Walking One Will Master the Road" was adopted by the editorial board of the Moscow "Ogonyok" and published in issue 45 in 1958. For authors who are barely 25 years old. it was a resounding success, opening the doors of film studios and editorial offices of not only republican, but also all-Union significance.
The selection of photographs "The Hungry Steppe" could be a logical continuation of the series of her famous father, dedicated to another grandiose event of the 20th century - the construction of the Great Fergana Canal (1939). For the photo community, who knew and loved Max Penson, it was gratifying to find Dina's individual handwriting, which does not repeat the clichés and methods of many luminaries, familiar to her from childhood. A significant difference from the photo shoots of twenty years ago is the completely different approach of the reporter in the changed conditions, although with similar tasks. The idea of collective creation of the 30s, labor that combines the ant element of millions, fused into a single structure, a macroorganism, is now opposed by Dina Khodjaeva to the powerful energy of the individual, an attempt to actualize the human, personally comprehended in an equally epoch-making coordinate system, is visible. The portraits of the excavator operator Yuri Varenitsyn, the machinist E. Vidineev, the old man Yarmat-ota stand out especially - we see psychological images that conceal depth and concentration. They clearly have their own philosophy, their own contemplation, immanently characteristic of the entire Eastern worldview. The plot, when Yarmat-ota releases a white dove from his palms, at first glance, repeats the famous Picasso composition, emblematic for that time. However, if you think about the fact that both the photograph of Dina Khodzhaeva and the drawing by Picasso appeared almost simultaneously, in the 57th year, almost simultaneously being a kind of symbol of the renewing world, two authors in different segments of art expressed themselves with the utmost degree of humanistic frankness.
The Hunger-Step series for Dina did not end with the delivery of the material to the editor. It continued throughout the 1960s, often at a different level and with varying degrees of success. Endless trips to the regions of the republic that were poorly adapted for life, the elementary lack of amenities and household deprivations that accompanied Khodzhaeva and her husband, meanwhile, gave excellent results - poetic plots, without which it is impossible today to fully imagine the history of Uzbekistan and understand the ordinary people of the republic. At the same time, a high degree of citizenship never gave a reason to descend to banality or "shabbat". And these are not empty words. There is a case when our creative tandem, on the order of "Ogonyok", was sent to a collective farm-millionaire in order to glorify the work and feat of its chairman. The authors were given an advance payment, they filmed material of decent volume. The report is actually ready. And all would be fine, but only at the finish line it turned out that the unfortunate chairman was engaged in an unseemly business: while reporting on the fantastically high yields on his farm, he actually engaged in postscripting, recording the harvest from unaccounted lands in the general harvest. The Khodzhaevs made a difficult but honest decision - to refuse the order, the advance, which had already been spent by that time, had to be urgently returned, getting into "friendly" debts.
Images of Uzbek children of the Hungry Steppe are of particular interest. Dina unmistakably follows the tuning fork of feelings, her camera captures only the genuine, only the present, not an ounce of falseness or tearful emotion. There are many children, in Uzbek families it is so customary, the fruits of love are not prohibited by anyone and are not limited by anything. Here on the streets kurpachi are spread out, and educators and the "magnificent seven" of youths are spontaneously placed on them. Against the backdrop of a gloomy desert landscape, "enriched" by the local limousine - "Moskvich" of the chic 412 brand, a dozen guys are posing, dressed in a variety of colors. Their faces are full of delight from unprecedented fun and, holding their breath, they are subordinate to the commands of some aunt from Tashkent, who looks like an artist. A family portrait "on horseback" is an amazing picture of modern civilization, made some 30-40 years ago. Nudity of the gaze, kind eyes and poetry of the intimate. It seems that such a plot could have been filmed a hundred years ago, and the same amount in the future. The formula of Milan Kundera is very suitable for defining the mood of this photograph: "the unbearable lightness of being."
There is also a shot - "Me and my dad" - it strikingly resembles the films of Emir Kusturica of the 90s, who also seeks "the truth of life" in the simple and everyday. Sometimes these searches lead to funny situations, painted in bright spontaneous tones, the conscious primitivization of the image creates the effect of a folk booth, amusing and invigorating, raising the general tone and intensity of what is happening.
In May 1961, an article by Dina and Fayzulla Khodjaev, dedicated to the everyday life of the Tashkent orphanage N22, was published in the all-union magazine Rabotnitsa. Dina's attentive eye clearly selects the most interesting moments. “This is how they come” - a photo of a boy who first appeared in an orphanage, with a frightened and haunted gaze, his face bruised from the battles for his independence. The most unexpected thing is that the viewer's feeling of compassion for him is gradually transformed into human curiosity, he wants to understand the presented mise-en-scene in development, what will follow next, how he will be met by his peers who already live here. And soon we see this "docking" - he communicates with guys like him, and a stone falls from his soul - everything is fine, there is contact. The photographs "On the Grass" and "Squeezing Out the Linen" are remarkable for their comparison with samples of pictorial and graphic suites by Leningrad artists of the 1930s - Alexei Pakhomov and Lidia Timoshenko, who aestheticize youth and youth as the happy future of the Soviet country. The orphanages, shaved bald, are sitting around, singing a song, perhaps a hymn. The motive of pioneerism or boy scouting, which is present at first glance, reveals some kinship with totalitarian articulation. “Making nails from such people” will be the next stage in the labor education of abandoned children to be reforged in accordance with the ideals of the socialist homeland. These photos half a century ago today evoke a mixed feeling, with a radically changed country, they acquired a different semantic coloring. This is one of the rare examples of the transformation of the meaning of photography, regardless of the will of the author, who wanted 1 to express something different.
In 1972, Dina Khodzhaeva went on a trip to European capitals. Paris, Rome, London, Copenhagen are a kaleidoscope of cities that amazes the imagination of Soviet people. A cruise to the "capital countries" is an almost unrealistic undertaking, but for Dina it is like air necessary. Everything is at stake, right down to grandma's relics, for just one opportunity to "see Paris and die." Each shot in this series is very important for understanding the method of not photographing a tourist, but a traveling photographer.
My favorite subject is a well-framed meeting at Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence of two groups of women: Uzbek travelers and nuns of the Catholic community. The black-and-white space of the sheet gives a feeling of full-fledged colors, evoking from memory the catchy inflorescences of the national silk "khan-atlas", in which "ours" are dressed and contrasting with the snow-white robes of Catholic women. The meeting of two cultures, two non-coinciding worlds is indicated with ironic overtones. This light irony is the unifying principle in this multi-colored combination.
Here we see the dignified janitor on the streets of Paris, She has an impressive chain with a whistle in case of unforeseen circumstances. Apparently, she noticed the lens aimed at her, because she took a proper pose so artistically that it confuses her colleague, the janitor, who did not understand such an instant metamorphosis. This raises a question that needs clarification. A person who knows that he is being filmed will cease to be himself. Unwillingly, he begins to pose for the camera. The easiest and most effective way to achieve complete authenticity is to shoot discreetly. In this case, every moment taken by surprise will be a fact recorded on film. Dina did not have the opportunity either to prepare the shooting, or to persuade models, or to implement the principle of a "hidden camera", if only because the tour group she was a member of is an organized discipline, she will not tolerate visits and movements that lag behind the plan. you get a slander from the leaders of the group (KGB officers, as a rule, carefully monitor and "walk" fellow citizens).
Time - at a minimum, seconds, and you need to do everything and show miracles of resourcefulness. It is here that a combination of "instantaneousness" with penetration into the inner world of the character is necessary. I recall the story of V. Tarasevich about the creation of the famous, fallen classic, photograph "Dmitry Shostakovich". The photographer could not take pictures when Dmitry Dmitrievich, at the insistence of the photographers, started to pose. Tarasevich found out about the room, and which the composer went to rest between rehearsals. He jammed the door with a splinter so that it could not be closed. And through the open door I saw the composer, who was in a state that could not have been organized, no matter how he strived for it.
Shooting Khadzhieva on the streets of Paris has preserved for us a kind of world of people at the turn of the 60s and 70s. Quinins sitting side by side (the breath of the iconic 1068 year of student unrest, very close), a girl ecstatically dancing in white clothes (compositionally, this picture will be reflected later in a photograph of a performer of the Uzbek folk "whirlwind" dance), boys with long French rolls at the ready, boring with their through the eyes of the viewer (one of the best photographs in this series), the family of artists in Montmartre is a subtle psychological image full of inner harmony. These and other works of Dina 35 years later sounded a different melody, hidden shades, devoid of an ideological context, appeared. The world of the golden calf and acquisitiveness, exploitation of workers and racial discrimination, rampant crime and social injustice appears in a completely different light. Of course, these photographs were intended for a private archive, and not for shows and state exhibition spaces and on the pages of Russian periodicals. All the more, you feel Khodzhaeva's genuine passionate attitude to photography in the name of eternal values.
Filming by theater and stage masters of the 60s and 70s also brings with them a special flair of memories of the era. Radmila Karaklaich, Galina Nenasheva, Batyr Zakirov, Biser Kirov, Gennady Khazanov, actors of the Sovremennik theater: very young Evstigneev, Efremov. Volchek, Quantum. This list can be continued endlessly - during the years of Dina's work on Uzbek TV, the stars were often in her spotlight. Each time has its own heroes, which form and determine the style and "sign", their idols, which can be followed and copied in everything. Then there was no so-called "glamorous" photography, but the celebrities captured by Dina were unwittingly the source material for creating such a concept in modern photography, “A person who looks at life through a camera peephole always ultimately looks at him in history. A person with a camera is a particle of the epoch, and in his own attitude to one or another of its events there is also a particle of its air. " This famous saying of the poet Konstantin Simonov is more a characteristic of a critic who analyzes the history of photography. The photographer himself rarely thinks about whether he will "get" into history with his picture or not, whether the course of his thoughts will be clear to those around him, and his non-standard decision will become obvious. He just films how he lives. How he breathes ... That was the title of the book written by Fayzulla Khodzhaev - "To shoot how to breathe." Dina Khodzhaeva's work is her way of communicating with the world around her, her secret message, her science of life.