History in moments: Soviet life through the lens of Yuri Abramochkin

Yuri Abramochkin, born 1936, fell into being a photographer by accident. When he was 21 he was employed as an engineer at the Mosstroi, Moscow building company. Sometimes he was asked to take pictures of drawings and blueprints. In 1957 Mosstroi suggested that he record the process of moving a building in Moscow. Later that year he was invited to be a photographer at the festival of Youth and Students, setting him on a path that in retrospect seems predestined. // "Short break and school news," 1965

Yuri Abramochkin, born 1936, fell into being a photographer by accident. When he was 21 he was employed as an engineer at the Mosstroi, Moscow building company. Sometimes he was asked to take pictures of drawings and blueprints. In 1957 Mosstroi suggested that he record the process of moving a building in Moscow. Later that year he was invited to be a photographer at the festival of Youth and Students, setting him on a path that in retrospect seems predestined. // "Short break and school news," 1965

Yuri Abramochkin
Soviet and Russian photographer Abramochkin manages to capture images of ordinary people, historic events and characters - by having a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
On Feb. 20 at 7pm an exhibition of Abramochkin's works opens at London's Rossotrudnichestvo (37 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 5ED, free admission) // "Women washing in the river"
Besides taking pictures of world’s leaders, Abramochkin has always considered it extremely important to capture images of the lives of ordinary people. He was one of the first photojournalists to bring spontaneous scenes to reportage photography. // Fishermen, Astrakhan, 1965
In a career already spanning more than five decades, Abramochkin's keen eye has caught hundreds of people through the lens of his camera. They include vivid images of all Soviet leaders, as well as dozens of foreign heads of state, including four American Presidents from Nixon to George H. W. Bush, Yasser Arafat, Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher. // Fidel Castro, 1976
"The best images of public figures are always captured after the formal protocol poses, when they begin to move naturally," Abramochkin says. // Yuri Gagain in Sochi, 1961
Yuri Abramochkin is one of 15 Russian photographers featured in Contemporary Photographers published by St. James Press. His awards include a World Press Photo Golden Eye. // Birth of a ballerina,  1966
Abramochkin uses different methods to make a model feel comfortable. His main tool is to learn as much as possible about his subject and says it’s very important to communicate. // Yuri Abramochkin walking by the Kremlin walls, Moscow.The exhibition Yuri Abramochkin: "History in moments. Our time" (Photos of 1960-2000) runs at Rossotrudnichestvo, Russian Centre for Science and Culture in London, from Feb. 20. Free admission. For more information visit the event's Facebook page.
"I think that 'cameraman', or a man with a camera, sees the world through his viewfinder. And what he sees and what flows through his heart - that is his world outlook," says Yuri Abramochkin. // Bayan player
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