Photographs can lie. They certainly do in the Soviet Union from 1929 to 1953, the years of Joseph Stalin's dictatorial rule. Stalin's agents routinely arrest and kill as "enemies of the people" anyone who disagrees with his politics. Communist Party workers then try to remove any trace of these people from the photographic archives, and so from the media.

The Commissar Vanishes exhibition explores this censored history. By the 1930s Communist "truth" circulates worldwide in party approved books. With airbrush or ink spot, the photo censors work quietly. But despite their power, they ultimately fail. The images expose decades of photographic lies. It's a stark visual tour through a society where freedom is not an option -- the culture of control that goes on to create the Berlin Wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The Commissar Vanishes
Communism and Propaganda
The News in Russia
Reinventing the Bolsheviks
Stalin Controls his Image
The Art of Deception
The Soviet Message
Death is Not the End