Catching the Instance
A new exhibition by Dmitry Konradt of his iconic images of St. Petersburg rock musicians is now on view.
Published: May 22, 2013 (Issue # 1760)
Dmitry Konradt, one of the city’s top fine-art photographers, was there with his camera to document most of the historic moments as well as the liberating spirit of St. Petersburg rock music during the Leningrad rock explosion of the 1980s.
Now focusing almost exclusively on abstract and eerily beautiful photographs taken in the courtyards and alleys of old St. Petersburg, Konradt is displaying some of his iconic rock images — featuring Russian rock legends such as DDT, Akvarium, Kino, Alisa, Auctyon, AVIA and Sergei Kuryokhin’s Pop Mechanics — at an exhibition at the Timiryazev Library that opened last weekend.
“Whether Russian rock exists or not is still an open question for me, but it can be said with some confidence that in the 1980s, it did,” Konradt said, speaking to The St. Petersburg Times ahead of the opening.
“I am not sure about now. Back then it was the combination of a [specific] time and place,” he said. “We witnessed it and managed to capture a few things.”
Called “From Konradt’s Rock Archives of the 1980s,” the exhibition includes 28 photographs of leading Russian rock musicians active in that era. Some are dead, some have disappeared and some went on to become big national stars.
Originally, the exhibition was created for Finnish audiences and was held at the Pick Me gallery in Helsinki to coincide with the release of “Pietari on rock,” a book about Leningrad rock music written by Finnish writer Tomi Huttunen and illustrated with more than 60 photographs by Konradt, who was credited as a co-author.
That exhibition, which included 31 works, then moved to Helsinki’s Stoa Cultural Center, where it began a tour of Finland, including stops in Tampere, Turku, Kuopio and Oulu. The copies of the photographs for the touring show were made by the Finland-Russia Society.
“The works were selected based on two principles: On one hand, they had to illustrate Tomi’s book to a certain degree. On the other hand, I wanted them to be good photographs,” Konradt said.
“[Tomi] told me, ‘We need this person,’ and I looked to see if I had good images of that person from my point of view as a photographer. To me, purely photographic qualities are important — notwithstanding the rarity of the situation or the identity of the subject. I tried to be not only a chronicler, but also a photographer.”
Konradt said he has included several atmospheric photographs to convey the mood of the 1980s Leningrad rock scene for the original exhibition, which is now on view in St. Petersburg.
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