Cover image for Propaganda & dreams : photographing the 1930s in the USSR and the US
Propaganda & dreams : photographing the 1930s in the USSR and the US
Bendavid-Val, Leah.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Zurich ; New York : Edition Stemmle, [1999]

Physical Description:
223 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
Published on the occasion of the exhibition organized by The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC, July 3 to October 3, 1999.
Added Author:
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
DK265.15 .B453 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Both well-known and previously unpublished photographs join to present a new image of the 1930s, exposing gaps in our understanding of the important era of the New Deal in the U.S. and the Communist Five-Year Plans in the U.S.S.R.

Editor Leah Bendavid-Val spent more than five years collecting material for this book in the United States and Russia. Her research uncovered not only works by great photographers but splendidly impressive images by unknown photographer.

The photographs are as different as the two nations themselves during the period. Yet a close comparison also reveals a number of striking similarities. For example, photographs were used on a large scale for various kinds of propaganda in both countries -- in some cases with the photographer's consent, in others without it. The accompanying texts provide, where possible, information about the people shown in the photographs and the photographers.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Bendavid-Val, a senior editor at National Geographic who curated this traveling exhibit with the support of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Russian Ministry of Culture, and the Library of Congress, has assembled a memorable collection of images: proud young women marching in a Moscow sports parade, a rifle pointing out from between Byzantine icons, a mantle clock serving as the most ornate headstone in a South Carolina graveyard, and uniformed children in gas masks. Among the 250 black-and-white photographs collected here, most come from the wonderful lenses of Americans Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, and Russell Lee and Ukranian Boris Ignatovich. Accompanying this large-format social commentary is a thought-provoking text, written for the exhibit. The lack of an index, however, makes it difficult to track works by the 33 Soviet and 19 American photographers, and only 40 of the contributing photographers are included in a selected biographies section. It's also disconcerting that, although the book supposedly focuses on the 1930s, one-third of the Americans' photographs actually date from the early 1940s. Still, this is recommended for all public libraries and for academic libraries with large photography collections.ÄAnne Marie Lane, American Heritage Ctr., Laramie, WY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.