Norilsk Combine first photo laboratory turns 80

Norilsk Combine first photo laboratory turns 80

April 22, 2021

The photo chronicle of the Arctic giant was created by professionals from the very beginning.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The Giant of the Arctic was the name of the first film about Norilsk, shot during the Great Patriotic War with the participation of the first photo laboratory workers Arkady Sorokin and Victor Glass.

By that time, the former employee of the Izvestiya newspaper Sorokin and the former cameraman of the future Lenfilm studio Glass, accused of espionage, had been transferred to the combine’s geological department’s photo laboratory. Sorokin – for its organization back in 1941, and Glass – four years later, during the film making.

The film group from Novosibirsk omitted the photographers’ names in the credits, but the scriptwriter, exiled journalist Yevgeny Ryabchikov, did not forget about them in his 1946 Northern Lights book. Today their photographs from the filming of the Arctic Giant adorn the corridors and foyer of the television company Severny Gorod, where meetings with the company’s guests are held.

The successor to the first photo laboratory, which was soon renamed the photo information bureau, still keeps in the archives photographs of the first years of the combine and the city construction. Moreover, the photographs were taken even before the organization of the laboratory by Sorokin, Glass and others.

Sorokin and Glass got acquainted with Avraamy Zavenyagin in Magnitogorsk before Norilsk. Arkady Sorokin more than once came to the communism shock construction site with an assignment from the Izvestia editorial board, and Victor Glass served his sentence at the Magnitogorsk newsreel studio.

From the first days in Norilsk, Zavenyagin recruited Sorokin to work in his specialty, “fixing the construction process”, as it was written in the order on the organization of the laboratory. The order legalized the position of the prisoner.

Victor Glass arrived in Norillag in 1939 and worked as an excavator and loader for almost a year. In 1940, at Zavenyagin’s heading, he was transferred to a design office, where he began filming; in 1941, Glass photographed the construction of the first factories at the Metallurgstroy site.

He was listed in the photo office for only two years, from 1945 to 1947, but in fact he was a photographic chronicler of Norilsk since 1940.

The creator of the laboratory, as well as the artist, illustrator Arkady Sorokin headed it until the wave of repeated arrests in the early 1950s. He maintained his relationship with Norilsk until his death in 1975.

Read other materials of our photo project in the History spot section.

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April 22, 2021

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