A photographic tribute to Soviet life

up:date February 27, 2023 by Jans Bock-Schroeder

In 1956, one year after the peace treaty between Russia and Germany, Peter Bock-Schroeder was the first West German photographer to be permitted to visit the former USSR for a photo reportage. Bock-Schroeder's journey took him through the huge space of the former Soviet republics - from the Central Asian Countries to the Transcaucasian Countries, from the Baltic States to European Russia.

Photo reportage of the Soviet Union

Young woman with pearl necklace in busy Moscow metro

Step Back in time with Peter Bock-Schroeder's vintage Moscow photographs.

Ballet Dancers with their teacher

World famous classical ballet company, a place of magic and enchantment

Matvey Manizer working on Lenin Statue

Manizer was a member of the "Association of the "Association of Artists of the Revolution"

Workers on Oil Platform Neft Daşları

A flagship for the Soviet Union and a symbol of its technological progress to the west.

Visitors of Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

Considered to be one of the major museums of international art in Russia.

The leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church Vazgen I during Mass in the Etchmiadzin Cathedral

Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Soviet nostalgia in pictures

Bock-Schroeder's work describes the Soviet daily life in all its austerity and authenticity.

He witnessed solemn religious services and processions of the Orthodox Church, photographed the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and took part in sport events and mammoth military parades.

Bock-Schroeder photographed people, the big cities, the historic buildings and gigantic construction sites.

Bock-Schroeder photographed people, the big cities, the historic buildings and gigantic construction sites.

The exceptional pictures from the former Soviet Union were shot in Moscow, Kiev, Baku, the holy city of Etchmiadzin, Tashkent, Tbilisi, Leningrad, and Tallinn, and other places in the USSR.

The adventures of a West-German Photographer in Russia

In spite of the close supervision Peter Bock-Schroeder managed to avoid censorship most of the time. The silent click of his Rolleiflex twin lens camera helped him to work almost unnoticed from the authorities.

On the eve of his departure for West Berlin, Bock-Schroeder sewed most of the exposed film rolls into the hem of his trench coat and brought his oeuvre from Russia to West Berlin.

After his return to West Germany, Peter Bock-Schroeder received a surprise visit from the BND (Federal Intelligence Service). The gentlemen from the intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany wanted to know whether Bock-Schroeder had brought home "interesting" photographic material from the Soviet Union.

Bock-Schroeder denied this, after all he was a photographer and not a spy. The reasons why Bock-Schroeder had trafficked his pictures from Russia were purely personal. He considered his work to be his property.

Until today, the pictures from the 1956 USSR expedition by Peter Bock-Schroeder have never been publicly shown in context.

Peter Bock-Schroeder in Russia

Peter Bock-Schroeder was amazed by the people of the Soviet Union.

He admired their culture, their friendly nature and their hospitality.

On his tour of the Soviet Union, Bock-Schroeder covered Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States, and Uzbekistan.

Book Cover The Soviets by Peter Bock-Schroeder

The sequence of 89 pictures in the exclusive fine art photography volume "The Soviets" builds on contextual, thematic, compositional, and factual aspects.

The 98-page publication connects extraordinary photographs by the very first West German photojournalist permitted to work in the former USSR, following the Second World War.

A first limited edition of the publication is scheduled to be released in October 2023.

Culture builds bridges

The Soviets Photo Book | 1st Edition

"The Soviets" by Peter Bock-Schroeder will be released in a first edition of 1,000 copies in October 2023

© Collection Bock-Schroeder

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