Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
The article touches upon the history of education in the field of photography in Ukraine during the late XIX — the first third of the XX century. The article aims at revealing the contribution of the scientific and educational institutions based in Kyiv, as well as individual local photography enthusiasts, to the development of photographic education. Using the methods of the history of ideas and social history, the author finds out how the changing political, social, and ideological conditions influenced the teaching of photography paradigm. At the turn of the XIX–XX centuries, the official authorities treated photography as a commercial industry. According to them, the photographer had to be skilled enough to satisfy rather modest esthetic demands of his clients, therefore, there was no need in the special photographic schools. At the same time, numerous amateur photographers, who belonged to the highly-educated class of the society, considered photography as an important driver of the technical and social progress. Due to the efforts of the Kyivan photographic society “Daguerre” and the local branch of the Russian technical society, Kyiv became one of the leading centers of artistic and scientific photography in Eastern Europe. Thus the lack of photographic education facilities thwarted the progress. Amateurs and enthusiasts exerted their efforts to start the teaching of photography in Kyiv basing on the best practices of Western European education. In 1906 Mykola Petrov started his photography class in the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. Next year the local publisher Vasyl Kulzhenko launched the photographic education in his school of the publishing industry. Kyiv became the first city in the Russian empire where one could get secondary and higher education in the field of photography. This system ceased to exist soon after the Bolsheviks gained control over the territory of Ukraine in the early 1920th. During the next two decades, the photography was taught either in the cinematography schools or in the so–called amateur photographic laboratories. However, in general, the quality of photographic education during that period was rather poor. As the authors assume, this situation was caused by the fact that the Soviet authorities treated photography as a mean of political propaganda, however, less important than the cinematography. Insufficient financial support as well as ideological pressure resulted in the decline of photographic education in Kyiv.
Keywords: history of photography, education, amateur photography, Mykola Petrov, Vasyl Kulzhenko, Kyiv polytechnic institute, VUFKU, Ukrainfilm.