Sniper snapshots

Year of birth of photography is considered to be 1838 minutes, and exactly a century after the invention of the Frenchman Daguerre his daguerreotypes (under the title picture, and became known to the world), in 1938, Far photographer Nick Shkulin made his picture «Raising the red flag on the hill Zaozernaya» which I walked almost all the publications of the Soviet Union …

…Few of the environment Nicholas knew that in his youth he performed in the circus. Born in the city of the future Photo-master Vladimir. It was orphaned early. In order to somehow feed themselves, prepared acrobatic number with his brother and got a job in a private circus of Ivanovo. In the evenings he worked on the stage, and during the day at school.

Apparently, then formed in the young man the main features of his character: a terrific performance and an inexhaustible interest in everything around him. During this period of his life he began to attend classes on photography in the children’s service station. After graduation, worked for a year a photographer for the magazine «Drummer» in the city of Ivanovo, he entered the Ivanovo Agricultural Institute, without forgetting about their circus profession.

In 1934, when Nicholas Shkulin toured with the circus for the Far East, he was drafted into the army. He was enrolled in a training battalion mechanized brigade. Two years later, already re-enlisted, he became a photographer in the headquarters of the Maritime Group of Forces OKDVA. Thus began his career as a military photojournalist.

With the «watering can» and a notebook, he participated in military events at Hal-hin-Gol and Hassan.

— Nikolai Shkulin more than 60 years of his life to the art of photography, was a witness and participant in the events of pre-war, war and post-war periods in the Soviet Far East, — says a senior fellow at the Khabarovsk regional museum named after NI Grodekov Valentine Redchun.

That the museum acquired in 1989 from the widow of a rich archive of wonderful photos: two thousand negatives, hundreds of pictures, and not just the military.

— At the end of the 30s Far photographer is among the leading photographers of the country — continued Valentine Mironovna. — Already in 1938 through the «News in pictures TASS» of his pictures have been published in national newspapers. This is not surprising: after all, he filmed the heroes Hassan, vivid scenes of fighting. In addition to the photograph of the hill Zaozernaya popular steel and other «Soviet snipers in the firing position,» «Three tanker,» Heroes of the Soviet Union of pictures of ordinary E. and S. Chuikov Gudenko, corps commander Stern and featured on the young commander Hassan 32nd Infantry Division of the Red Banner Berzarina Nicholas, who became a Hero of the Soviet Union and the first commandant of Berlin in 1945.

In August 1945, war correspondent of the army newspaper «Defending the Motherland» N. Shkulin was in the ranks of the attacking forces on roads in Manchuria to Harbin.

…The soldier smiled and said:

— We got to Berlin — and we come to Harbin!

At this moment the shutter clicked his camera. Soldier, whose name the military photographer Nikolay Shkulin did not have time to write, went down in history — and today he is smiling with a photograph taken near border pillar «twenty-one». The notebook got only a phrase thrown on the go. Her and placed under the photograph to orbit the front pages of national and foreign newspapers.

«Making pictures on the front was not easy, — says a military photographer in an interview published in the 80 years in the newspaper FEB» Suvorov onslaught. » — Went to the vanguard waded often crawl under a hail of bullets. On arms of those days photographers were not, as now, long lenses, «watering can» with short lens had to withdraw combat incident «.

After several years of photo-master was gone. Alas, we will never know the details surrounding the birth of other, equally well-known pictures of Nicholas Shkulina. His photographs are stored now in the Khabarovsk Regional Museum, talk about offensive operations conducted by the Red Army in a remote mountain-taiga areas of the promotion of our troops in Manchuria, the storming of the heights of the Greater Hinggan and enemy fortified points, delivery of equipment and weapons of the Kwantung Army. The photographs, many of which have become classics of the genre, depicted scenes of fierce battles for the city of Mudanjiang, Harbin and other settlements. The commander of the 1st Red Banner Army 1 st Far Eastern Front, Colonel-General Alexander Beloborodov wonder about Shkuline said: «This is our battle chronicler.»

His fate is kept. And in the days of the fighting, and in the period of repression. And he, in turn, was able to save the photos and negatives, which later took its rightful place in the annals of the war against Japan.

(It is said that Nicholas Shkulin very original way to keep in the years of Stalin’s repressions «bad» picture. He put the negatives in envelopes, which rolled under the wallpaper.) These negatives have also come to the funds of the Khabarovsk regional museum.

Photoworks Nicholas Shkulina representing great historical and artistic value of professional, deeply psychological. This could make sure everyone who visited the photo exhibition Khabarovsk photographers, held at the Military Historical Museum of the Eastern Military District.

The indelible impression, for example, the left picture, which depicted the Japanese prisoners of war, handing over weapons. At first glance there is nothing special about the composition. The general plan: on the one hand, military school bags neatly folded, on the other — a radio station in the middle — some striped stakes likely from dismantled fences.

Persons of Japanese soldiers almost not visible in the frame just behind, but hung his head drooping shoulders. And do not need to be an expert in the art of photography to understand: to remove a frame could only true artist.

The museum fund Nicholas Shkulina also includes photos of the legendary commanders of the Red Army — participants in the war against imperialist Japan and a series of images of settlements and inhabitants of Manchuria.

Name Nicholas Shkulina takes a worthy place in the history of war photography. Front-line pictures were exhibited in numerous exhibitions, including international ones, even during his lifetime.

— We, the employees of the museum, especially memorable exhibition, held in 2001 in Harbin, — said Valentina Redchun. — She exhibited Photodocumentary collection N. Shkulina «The war against Japan.» Its initiators were employees of cultural institutions of the Chinese province of Heilongjiang, who got acquainted with these wonderful images in Khabarovsk. It was the first exhibition in the history of the Khabarovsk regional museum named after NI Grodekov opened in China. It lasted three months and caused a lot of enthusiastic responses.

Interestingly, in 2003 in the exhibition hall of the Khabarovsk regional museum named after NI Grodekov the opening of the first photo-documentary exhibition prepared by colleagues from China. She talked about the Japanese aggression in China in 1931 — 1945 years. The purpose of the exhibition — to reiterate what causes war troubles of human civilization.

It is symbolic that the Chinese exhibition, exposed and then around the world, launched it in Russia — a country that suffered most during the Second World War. Of course, the establishment of friendly ties with Chinese counterparts photos N. Shkulina played a significant role.

At the end of our conversation Valentine Mironovna noted that the work of Nicholas Shkulina and have not lost their relevance: many of them will be included in a new exhibition of Khabarovsk Regional Museum, dedicated to history of the region from 1923 to 1953. Even in the postwar years, the photographer stayed true to himself: he was active chronicler peaceful life. Many years after the war he worked as a photographer in the regional newspaper «Pacific Star». For example, in his archive is a series of pictures taken on the day of the century Khabarovsk. Many of genre pictures of this holiday, the people rejoice, sing, dance …

The main objects of his post-war photo reports were industrial and agricultural enterprises, construction sites, schools. The lens of his camera captures the most significant events and people who lived and worked in the Russian Far East.

Tatiana Karepova

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