Erika Wolf: Removing the Veil: LEF Photography in the Magazine “Pioneer”

Pioner 1931 no 1In 1928, the young journalist Leonid Volkov-Lannit (1903-1985) contributed a series of polemical articles on photography to the journal Novyi LEF (New Left Front of the Arts), culminating in “Veil on Photo” (Fata na foto). Attacking aesthetic approaches to photography, he championed the documentary, reportorial function of photography as a weapon that would facilitate the construction of the new everyday life and outlined a practical program for its realization. Pioner 1930 no 35 page 0-1a

In the early 1930s, Volkov-Lannit implemented aspects of this program in his work as a designer and managing editor of the magazine Pioneer, a weekly literary and cultural publication that was the organ of the All-Union Pioneer Organization, the foremost communist children’s group. The contributions of other writers associated with LEF to Pioneer have been well documented and led later Soviet writers criticize the magazine in this period for being rife with “factographism.” My contribution to the symposium assesses photographic material published in Pioneer during the early 1930s in terms of Volkov-Lannit’s proposed program.

Pioner 1930 no 18 page 3Pioner 1930 no 36 page 1

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