Photographers win praise for work which had them in trouble with the Communist Party and KGB.
Everything seen on the pictures should have been a moment of 'snapped reality' where people were not asked to alter their behaviour for the camera, nor to smile. Pictures: TRIVA photographers
An exhibition earlier this year in Novosibirsk was billed as a 'rare chance to get back in time for see life of Siberian people in the late USSR'.
The photographs - some of them shown here - were taken by Siberians Vladimir Vorobyev, Vladimir Sokolayev and Alexander Trofimov who worked in the late 1970s - the era of Soviert leader Leonid Brezhnev - Novokuznetsk Metallurgy Plant.
The trio called their group TRIVA, and while they had no written manifesto for their work, they had a definite aim: it was one that the authorities found it hard to cope with. As the photographers said, they tried to keep their cameras with them as much as they could, and took pictures not only the workers, but of various routine scenes they came across daily.
Most of pictures they took were black and white but they agreed never to retouch pictures, nor to crop them. They did not do posed shots.
Everything seen on the pictures should be a moment of 'snapped reality' where people were not asked to alter their behaviour for the camera, nor to smile.
The photographers did not re-do the same image, nor suggest a composition for a photograph. They wanted to take life as it was in Soviet Siberia, and it was this desire that killed their trio and got both the KGB and Communist Party officials suspicious.
Photohrapher Vladimir Vorobyev snapped a moment when a watch master got 'drunk' with gas coming inside a factory shop and went ot to get better. Kuznetsk Metallurgical Plant, Novokuznetsk, Kuzbass, Siberia, year 1980
The group has been officially registered in 1981 (though they worked together for several years before this) and managed to take part in 19 exhibitions, including even several foreign ones until in 1982 the KGB's watchmen alleged that TRIVA works 'blacken the socialist way of living'.
All three were fired from the plant and had to destroy part of their archives.
Vladimir Sokolayev learned about photography as a child, initially from his uncle, not just taking pictures, but development and printing the film, too.
In school, he borrowed a Zenit camera from his friend's brother. He photographed everything: preparations for exams, the final celebration of finishing school, and girls, who especially liked it. A yearbook with Vladimir's photographs, this was a farewell present for school teacher.
‘In a bath alone’, taken in 1981 in Number Two Children’s House shows a child waiting for his turn to get dressed; on the next picture, taken in January 1981 several children and their tutors stand under quartz ultraviolet lamp ray to get ‘decontaminated’ from virus and bacteria. The last image shows amateur actor Kolya Ivanov preparing to play the role of Lenin before the commemorative performance in honour of the anniversary of Novokuznetsk Pedagogical Institute. Novokuznetsk, 30.03.1980
Working in Novokuznetsk, he again used a camera and met his two fellow photographers. 'It was a case of fate, I now realise,' Vladimir Sokolayev said.
They took many pictures of steel workers, in black and white, showing everyday work in Novokuznetsk Iron and Steel Plant.
'Our task was taking pictures of the daily life of people around us and we did it,' he said.
'It was so difficult in this time because the real life of Soviet people were not as you could see in other photographs. People must have been combed and shaved before the picture was taken, neatly dressed, smiling and looking happy, so that foreigners know that people in the USSR have the best life possible'.
A woman hurries to First of May demonstration with 'Happiness' poster in her arms, and several scenes of everyday life in Novokuznetsk, Kuzbass, Siberia at early 89s. Pictures: TRIVA photographers
Vladimir photographed passers-by and people who didn't know he was there.
In one picture, in Novokuznetsk bus station, a man slept peacefully under the feet of other passengers.
Celebrities, millionaire collectors and even royalty all want a piece of the Siberian 'phenomenon' who is still relatively unknown in his homeland.
French photographer takes a snap-shot of everyday life in Eastern Russia and falls in love with 'exotic' region.