May 21 and 22, 2013
May 18 to August 25, 2013
From 1924 the Russian photojournalist Max Penson (1893–1959) travelled through his adoptive homeland of Uzbekistan as a reporter. His photographs offer insight into a time when the country was loosening its centuries-old traditions and was confronted with a new political and social structure.
These photographs, discovered three years ago in an attic and shown for the first time in this publication, come from the photo-grapher’s so far unseen legacy. They portray a country that in the early 20th century was a largely unknown part of mysterious and magical Central Asia. The awakening from this fairytale began just at the time when Max Penson was on the road with his camera, transmitting the upheaval of this ancient culture in fascinating photo reportages. Like no other photographer of his generation Max Penson documented the radical changes of a country that was only just being liberated from medieval social structures. Max Penson, a contemporary of the artist Alexander Rodtschenko and a friend of the film director Sergej Eisenstein, left behind a unique documentation of these changes.
Max Penson was a photographer between tradition and revolution. This publication presents, by means of recently rediscovered works, the extraordinary documentary achievement of the Russian photojournalist, who portrayed in gripping photo reportages Uzbekistan’s transformation from a medieval social structure to a Soviet Socialist-Republic.