Nikolay Plehanov knew shamans’ thoughts

Nikolay Plehanov knew shamans’ thoughts

April 13, 2022

The Taimyr Meetings reportage photography exhibition has opened at the Norilsk Museum.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The photo exhibition of Nikolay Plehanov’s works is dedicated to the 90th birthday of the man who traveled all over Taimyr with a camera.

The museum collection contains more than half a thousand the member of the USSR Journalists Union Nikolay Plehanov’s historical photographs of the 1960s-1990s.

Nikolay Plehanov

Almost a native Norilsk citizen, his parents brought a seven-year-old boy to the camp settlement in September 1945, for more than half a century he was a participant, and then a chronicler of its heroic history. He remembered the first wooden school at the Zero Point and the night schools he attended when he went to work at the age of 16.

He started as an apprentice printer in the first Norilsk printing house. In the year of the ‘all peoples leader’ death, he published the last issue of the Stalinets newspaper and the first issue of the Zapolyarnaya Pravda one.

The former printer returned to the newspaper after 16 years as a photojournalist and until the last days (Nikolay Plehanov died in 1997) he worked first in the Soviet Taimyr, then in Zapolyarnaya Pravda and Zapolyarny Vestnik newspapers.

Over the years, he traveled all over Taimyr with a camera. Nikolay Plehanov knew how to shoot people, northern landscapes and production sites, including those on which he managed to work in the pre-reporting period and loved doing it very much.

Plehanov is remembered as a bulldozer operator at the Medvezhiy Ruchey mine. There were the Copper plant and the first gas pipeline in the Arctic Messoyakha – Norilsk construction in his working biography. In 1968, Nikolay Plehanov, among the first twelve builders, “landed” from Fakel gas field to Messoyaha one.

The theme of the indigenous peoples of Taimyr has become special for photojournalist Nikolay Plehanov. He was friends with all the famous shamans of the peninsula and considered them outstanding people.

During his lifetime, Plehanov repeatedly organized his personal photo exhibitions, besides the participation in collective projects, including regional and republican ones. The author’s expositions were the brightest ones: What does the Shaman Makes His Ritual about?, Norilsk and the Norilsk People, In the Reindeer Land.

Exhibition-2022 – Taimyr Meetings – is dedicated to the 90th birthday of the master. Museum workers chose black-and-white photographs for the jubilee exposition, which capture the ‘honest, unadorned life of the Dolgans, Nenets, Nganasans’, as Nikolay Plehanov, a photojournalist of Sovetsky Taimyr, saw it half a century ago.

Earlier, we reported that a polar station exhibition-reconstruction was sent to Norilsk by the Northern Sea Route. We also told about the photo exhibition The World in Faces dedicated to indigenous peoples. Last year, with the support of Nornickel, it was opened first in Paris and then in Geneva.

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Text: Valentina Vachayeva, Photos: Nikolay Shchipko and Nikolay Plehanov

April 13, 2022

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