Alexander Rodchenko, Russian artist, sculptor, photographer, and graphic designer has influenced artists across various mediums but his photography has left a deep imprint in Russian history. Modernism photographers often used photography to express personal opinions, emotions, and ignite popular opinion on social/political issues. However, what made Rodchencko an iconic modernist photographer was the way he used his Lecia to capture different perspectives. His bold compositions, interesting crops, angles and photomontages have paved the way in making photography as an art form.
One of Rodchencko’s most famous works Steps, 1929, is a response to the famous Odessa steps scene from the silent film “Battleship Potemkin ‘’ by Sergei Eisenstein. In the film, Eisenstein visually captures the tension and drama of the Russian Revolution with Cossacks’ boots marching and attacking towards unarmed civilians’ trying to flee, a rolling baby carriage, and a mother and lifeless child which is all occurring on the infinite Odessa steps. Five years after the film, Rodchenko developed Steps, 1929. In contrast to the film, the composition consists of rhythmic negative and positive diagonals with an interesting aerial angle that portrays a mother and child ascending the steps in peace. The Revolution is over, life continues, and it is time to move forward and look to the future. Rodchencko captures the feeling of optimism from a tragic past on the steps.
Rodchenko is a classic example of a new way of seeing. We want to never lose our sight towards our “steps” to making progress for a better tomorrow and the planet. Just as Rodchenko picked up his Leica camera and explored new perspectives, Kelsen will continue to evolve with technology and seek new sustainability methods for the future.
Featured Image: Alexander Rodchenko’s Gears (1929, left), Fire Escape (1925, middle), and Balconies (1925, right) © Lumiere Gallery