Artwork of the Week: August 11, 2019
Mark Markov-Grinberg (1907-2003), Old Man of the Volga River, 1939, ferrotype gelatin silver print, 15 7/16 x 22 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of LeGrand P. Belnap, 2004.
Mark Markov-Grinberg’s photograph of an elderly Russian workman on the Volga River is iconic. This expressive portrait of an aged boatman—with his deep, pronounced wrinkles, weathered beard, and patched coat—speak of an unassuming life of toil. Markov-Grinberg’s social realist images played into Soviet rhetoric, and he became one of his generation’s most renowned photographers, capturing much of 20th-century Russia’s history through his lens.