Arkadiy Yulianovich Levitan
1911 - 2006
1930 - 1970s
The Russian film director and cameraman Arkadi Levitan is known as one of the best documentary filmmakers during the years of The Great Patriotic War. As a cameraman, Levitan was involved in cinema since the late 1920s and continued to work as director in various film studios in the USSR, such as Mosfilm and Central Studio of Documentary Films until the end of the 1970s.
In tandem with his cinematic career, Levitan also used the still camera, and was especially interested in the field of colour photography. In 1950 he visited Armenia where he shot the feature-length propaganda documentary Sovetskaya Armenia (Soviet Armenia). During his stay, he also shot an extensive photographic series depicting various aspects of Armenia’s landscape, people and culture. Many of these images were regularly reprinted in republican and all-union press, as well as in separate photo albums dedicated to Armenia. In essence, these admiring and romantic images - clearly seen through a typically Russian-Orientalist lens - perfectly fit with the rhetoric of Soviet ‘nationalism’ by representing Armenia as a southern paradise unique in its local forms, yet entirely ‘constructed’ via the efforts of communism.