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Man and Culture
Reference:

Photography and non-fiction pre-revolutionary cinema

Beliakov Viktor Konstantinovich

ORCID: 0000-0001-5832-0160

PhD in Art History

Postgraduate student, Department of Film Studies, Russian State Institute of Cinematography named after S. Gerasimov; Associate Professor of the Sergiev Posad branch of VGIK 

141310, Russia, Moscow region, Sergiev Posad, Red Army Avenue, 193

vic.belyakov@gmail.com
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8744.2024.2.70131

EDN:

QKGVPF

Received:

15-03-2024


Published:

03-04-2024


Abstract: The purpose of this work is to identify the essence of cinema in the process of its formation in the prerevolutionary period of time in comparison with its predecessor - photography. The author examines in detail the main properties of photography and the main properties of cinema, which do not coincide with each other, as well as their functioning in pre-revolutionary Russian society. The use of photography in mass illustrated magazines of that time is analyzed. Attention is paid to the formation of the properties of cinema at an early stage, when the audience of the first illusions was still mastering the perception of a new spectacle, which at the same time led to mastering the ability to read the language of screen reality. It is emphasized that mass cinema, in fact, used and developed the techniques of mass illustrated magazines. The special properties of cinematography related to the qualities of photogeny are also considered. The available documents on the functioning of the first cinemas are being studied. The issue of the emergence of the alienation effect in application to pre-revolutionary cinema, which leads to the mythologization of screen images, is discussed.The questions posed are studied on the basis of the art historical research method using the historical analysis of the available facts. What is new in this work is that the studied properties of photography and cinematography at an early stage allow us to develop the results obtained on the process of using archival photo and film documents in the modern cinematographic process. On the basis of the conducted research, it was found that cinematography, in comparison with photography, has the property of serving to identify the lost historical reality with giving the on-screen reality the qualities of myth, since there are no reliable verification techniques for visual paintings on the cinema screen. Photography reproduces mirrored pictures of existence with a demonstration of the smallest details and details, but cinema overshadows it due to its inherent photogeny, which does not have adequate verbal descriptions. Cinematic photogeny helps to reproduce the breath of life itself on the screen. In the course of the work, the empirical properties of photography and cinematography were studied with the disclosure of certain important historical circumstances that help to better understand their functioning in society.The results obtained contribute to a better understanding and decoding of pre-revolutionary film documents.


Keywords:

photo, cinema, film, illustrated magazine, newsreel, viewer, photogeny, historical memory, myth, illusion

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Introduction

The purpose of our research is to study the essential properties of photography and non-fiction cinema in their comparison with each other. We will undertake a comparative analysis of these media tools based on evidence of their functioning in Russian society at the beginning of the twentieth century. Then, when photography took a fairly confident place in this society, and non-fiction cinema came to the forefront and quite rapidly attracted the mass interest of the audience.

The appearance of a semblance of a mirror image of the surrounding reality photography - led to the fact that a person immediately got used to perceiving and feeling this reality not only with his own eyes, but also with the help of a fairly similar copy of it, which, as it turned out, was never adequate to it (for example, the first black-and-white copies could not be adequate to the color world in any way). In addition, it was found that a person perceives the same fragment of reality with the help of his senses and touch not exactly as if he saw this fragment on a photographic print.

Nevertheless, photography soon opened up new possibilities for people it turned out that it captures pictures of the world around it without the obligatory presence of an alleged observer, who will be able to view the photos taken by the photographer after.

Moreover, it turned out that the photo can be viewed by focusing on the details.

Cinema has expanded the possibilities of photography and endowed visual prints with previously unseen properties. What they were, this will be discussed in our study.

Features of photography and cinematography

S. Sontag, who devoted many of her works to the study of photography, spoke about its transparency, a property associated with visual authenticity, although she allowed, as she put it, a deal between truth and art [1, 14].

In fact, the phenomenon of photography is quite complex. In addition to bringing artistic techniques to photography, we can observe the inherent specific features.

Photography presents us with an event, or rather, its image, but at the same time it alienates it. Photography represents an event remotely, not from the inside there is a distance between the lens and the subject. Photography is also endowed with ideology, because the definition of an event follows from its ideological interpretation. Revolution, mutiny or riot the photographic image may be the same, but the event will be presented differently. That is, the event must be named, and this is due to the problem of understanding what is captured in the photo, which is formed as a result of interpretation and explanation. Finally, photography is inevitably associated with historical memory, even if it was created very recently it still captures the past, not the present, which is the basis of memory. Both understanding and historical memory can be ambiguous and subjective. The intervention of the interpretative moment leads to a very different interpretation of the photographic image.

In addition to the information component, the photo contains a communicative component tied to the author's intention. Communication is, in fact, a moment of dialogue between the viewer and the author, which arises when viewing an image. The viewer is influenced by the author's sympathy or antipathy towards the subject.

During communication, photography also shows its aesthetic qualities, which are embedded in it by the author. That is, there is no pure direct objectivity in photography. As soon as the photographer builds an angle and composition, artistry appears, affecting perception.

By the time cinematography appeared in Russian society, there were already techniques for presenting visual material reflecting different aspects of the life of the Russian Empire. Illustrated magazines and weeklies were engaged in conveying such information to various circles.

A. P. Chekhov believed that this kind of periodicals is designed for the most "motley" reader from an illiterate but interested peasant to a semi-intelligent citizen, a worker or a servant. The most common reader is a doorman, janitor, or clerk. I was attracted by the regularity of the publication and the responsiveness to a variety of events. The weeklies were full of visual information, entertaining and had an unobtrusive moral.

According to available data, "in 1913, 189 weeklies were registered in Russia. The total circulation of St. Petersburg weeklies alone in 1913 reached 1.5 million copies" [2, p. 18]. And this despite the fact that there were about 3 million people in the capital.

A popular genre of the illustrated edition is becoming a photo essay. The mass magazine understands very precisely the orientation of the public towards the "picture", and every year it becomes more and more illustrated. Its pages publish not only the photo portraits of outstanding contemporaries familiar to those years and reproductions of paintings from art exhibitions that are very popular with readers, but photo reports on current events in Russia and abroad are taking up more and more space. They provide an opportunity for a huge readership to see firsthand much of what the vast majority of people have never seen before and could not see anywhere else. With the help of an image, a person turned into a spectator of everything that was happening in the world.

The photo report was based on a story. Photographers filmed the arrival of a person at the train station or himself standing at the side of the ship, followed him around the city, accompanied him to the entrance to some official presence or palace (a picture of the exit from the crew) and, finally, recorded a handshake or hug with the welcoming officials. In most cases, all the photos were mediumsized - the technique and shooting conditions did not allow for close-up shots. In magazines, these photos were accompanied by short captions under each picture or a general signature of the named type.

Any illustrated magazine had established principles for the placement of published material, which had to correspond to a certain type and express the thematic focus of the magazine. As a rule, the issue of such a magazine had to contain some part of prose works (usually a novel with a sequel or a series of short stories was printed), a story about this or that outstanding person or figure, then there were messages illustrated with photographs about significant events that took place in the world (it could also be information about the trip of the Sovereign or about his visit to someor an official ceremony), reports of incidents and catastrophes, as well as, for example, information about the launching of a ship, an essay from peasant life (this essay actually reflected the interior national life of Russia), a religious plot, reproductions of paintings from an exhibition and illustrations for any famous literary works. At the end, information about sports competitions with photos could appear.

Thus, the illustrated weekly, which was published in huge circulation, organized a vision of the world for the reader. At the same time, it was always structurally designed and helped to navigate the diversity of events. At the same time, the reader received well-known normative ideas about life behavior and the assessment of life itself. And a certain cultural flair was superimposed on this, which contributed, as it were, to the education of feelings that the reader should have experienced when mastering and realizing the incoming information.

The cinema that appeared and rapidly developed easily overshadowed all this. He could penetrate into many places, and most importantly, he could become accessible to many people at the same time. The peculiar democracy of the audience, noticed by researchers, when clerks and doormen gathered in the hall together with the most refined audience, speaks only about the unity of understanding that suddenly appeared on the screen. The film language became unified for different segments of the population, which, to a certain extent, united people in society. The power of cinema has already been reflected in this. And this, in turn, helped the propaganda work more effectively. For example, during the First World War, a film appeared about the atrocities of the Germans against Orthodox shrines in churches and the relics of saints. Of course, his impact on the audience was unambiguous and did not cause any discrepancies.

Thus, quite soon after its appearance, cinema eclipsed photography, although not in all and not completely.

The main difference between a film and a photograph is in motion, the image on the screen is moving the photograph has come to life! And if a photograph presents us with an image, then a movie is a movie. That is, the movement itself came to life on the screen. The fact that we can see movement and gesture inherent in different objects and people on the screen is the defining and most important thing in distinguishing film and photography. A visible object, a visible person, as B. Balash said [3], is the main property of the film. Hence, a very short step towards the photogeny of R. Kanudo. The problem of photogeny, in any case, becomes the key one. You can see the smallest details and details in the photo. Looking at the photo, you can think and reflect on the style of clothing of a rocker from the 1970s or a movie star from the 1930s. But as soon as they start moving on the screen, the viewer will immediately forget to look at the buttons on the jacket, and will be carried away by their gait, emotion and mood, their voice a way of self-expression, in a word. Millions of people once remembered Humphrey Bogart and his specific speech, and no fewer people remembered Winston Churchill's smiling face and his V-finger gesture. This visual image inspired countless people back then, during the war, just because they saw a newsreel in the cinema.

In the cinema, a narrative begins, based on the film language, which organizes speech the screen reality transmits, broadcasts a certain message. The viewer is captured not only by the unprecedented spectacle itself, not only by the magic of the revived reality, he is fascinated by the decoding of on-screen reality, recognizing circumstances similar to those familiar to him from his personal experience and collective ideas.

The canon of presentation and dissemination of information, developed by mass periodicals in the face of illustrated weeklies, has been adopted in many of its qualities by non-fiction cinema, especially film magazines.

The newsreel began with some kind of officialdom it could be a visit of the Sovereign to another country or, conversely, the arrival of a foreign guest in Russia. It is not necessary that it was an August person, it is enough that it was the arrival of the king of poets Paul Faure from France. Then there could be various protocol ceremonies and events: military maneuvers, the opening of a monument, an anniversary exhibition, then there were horse races at the racetrack, incredible climatic phenomena, fires, disasters, and at the end aviator flights, car races and Parisian fashions.

Chronicle films have adopted the same manner. There were certainly films of official content, films about outstanding people and bright events, as well as everyday sketches and just pictures of life. Sometimes films were shot according to a pre-thought-out plot with deliberately staged episodes demonstrating not just a certain fact, but the whole process in an expanded form.

Mass audience and cinemas

In general, the first films and their screening in specially equipped places (illusions, and later in specially built electric theaters) affected the viewer not only with the cinema images that came to life on the screen, but also with the atmosphere of the action itself, the surrounding entourage and accompanying moments: they impressed both the programs, and the playing of a taper or an entire orchestra, as well as collective reading captions aloud during the session and collective reaction to what they saw.

Before the deployment of a mass cinema network, which occurred in 1907-1908, film screenings were arranged during exhibitions, fairs or during individual variety performances organized, say, in the People's House. The public of that time perceived cinematography as a kind of attraction and did not hope to learn anything from it. Therefore, in the very first years, the owner of the projection device demonstrated the same program sometimes for six months an attraction because the attraction is the same thing every time.

And since 1907, everything has become different: people began to come to the illusions for interesting films, and the programs in them began to change weekly, and sometimes even every three days.

If we analyze the available documents, for example, concerning the work of the St. Petersburg Edison Theater illusion, located on Malaya Konyushennaya Street (documents on the work of this illusion are stored in the State Archive of the Russian Federation GA RF Foundation 117, inventory 1, case 87), they indicate the following.

The illusion worked every day from two o'clock in the afternoon until midnight. The screenings were organized in the form of peculiar sections with intermissions. The films were not repeated in different departments, so it was necessary to monitor the screenings on special programs that were distributed in advance. By purchasing the illusion program, the viewer, who was informed from a variety of sources about the ratings of films, could determine in advance what he would choose to watch during a future visit to the illusion. A matinee session from several branches cost from 30 kopecks to 1 ruble 50 kopecks, which is not cheap (for comparison: a pound of meat then cost 3.63.8 rubles, and a pound of wheat flour 2 rubles), but with a purchased ticket you could stay in the illusion until five o'clock in the evening and watch a whole clip of movies. Evening tickets were more expensive from 40 kopecks to 2 rubles 10 kopecks, but the program of evening screenings was different and more attractive. As you know, films were divided into categories, and cinemas were forced to take a variety of tapes from distributors, since it was unrealistic to fill the viewings with films of the first screen only from the point of view of rental prices. The cheapest were newsreels and generic non-fiction pictures, which just got into the early sections of the afternoon session. But if the viewer stayed in the illusion until 5 p.m., he could wait for drama, comedy, and sensation.

The credits were read aloud by the audience in chorus. Not in order to comprehend them in some socio-political or artistic definitions, but in order to experience them emotionally (in the case of a game tape) or in conceptual terms (for newsreels): Here, it turns out, is the King of Italy, or His Imperial Majesty Nicholas II in Livadia, and nothing more. This action was reminiscent of the recitation of the Creed in the temple, which all those present did, at least on Sundays at the liturgies most of the audience visited the temples.

Even in the most prestigious illusions, the audience was motley, which emphasized the peculiar democracy of the film shows in the hall you could meet both representatives of the aristocracy and nobility, as well as factory apprentices and ordinary burghers, sitting, however, on the balcony or benches in front, where tickets were cheaper.

How were the departments themselves organized? Each of them consisted of 3-4 short films no more than 5-6 minutes each, and there was still a break of 3-4 minutes between them, since the projectionist worked with only one projection device, requiring recharging with rewinding the film to the beginning.

The first and second sections of the daytime session at the illusion in question in December 1908 consisted of just chronicle documentaries. In the first section: "Italian Artillery", "Difficult crossing", "Skiing in the presence of the Swedish King and Queen"; and in the second section: "Traveling Circus", "Sunday excursion", "Picturesque Ancona".

Probably, all these fairly short films were shown during the day only for the reasons that they did not cause an audience stir and were received from rental offices as a mandatory package for the so-called first-screen films (a common practice of those years). The highest-grossing films were shown at the illusion in the evening.

Against this background, it seems very curious that in the sixth section, that is, in the evening, among other films, the film "Horse Racing for the prize of the Empress" is listed. Weekly horse races and races at the capital's hippodromes were extremely popular and caused genuine excitement in the public, including due to the excitement generated by the sweepstakes. So this film could be of increased interest to the viewer, and therefore it was included in the screening of the evening section.

Since the installation of chronicle films was quite simple, linear in nature and did not affect the success of the film with the viewer in any way, the first roles in the success were those characteristics that warmed up the emotions of the viewer when watching the film. These were separate plans of the visual series, which at that time had a strong emotional component.

Obviously, not all chronicle films were capable of possessing these qualities due to the fact that many films performed simply a representative role (that is, they demonstrated their subject) and their visual range did not have much emotional power.

In those years, newsreels were perceived rather as one of the elements of public entertainment, which was then cinema in general. It is no coincidence that many public figures of that time, writers, journalists, and just the audience, when it came to the film show, could not tell exactly what they were shown specifically. M. Gorky's words about gray shadows flashing on the screen are widely known (that is, the substantial part of the impression shown has fallen out of the impression) [4].

Pre-revolutionary newsreels and the effect of exclusion

Oksana Bulgakova, in her work "LEF and Cinema" [5], notes that for Dziga Vertov's cinematography, the effect of exclusion, which Viktor Shklovsky spoke about back in 1916, is true. Vertov deliberately introduces the figure of a cameraman with a camera (this is his brother Mikhail Kaufman) into his film "The Man with a Movie Camera" in order to emphasize a detached view of the surrounding reality.

In the preserved pre-revolutionary newsreels, cameramen, as captured in film frames, are immediately remembered by Alexander Drankov in his filming of Leo Tolstoy and, of course, as periodically appearing in the frame in numerous filming of the tsar by Alexander Yagelsky.

Drankov's cameramen are not accidentally caught in the frame of objects, they appear in the filmic space intentionally, demonstratively, so that the viewer notices them.

Drankov's motives are unambiguous: he wants the viewer to perceive Tolstoy's estate as something unusual, as a strange space, atypical for the realities of the Russian Empire, where an atypical man Leo Tolstoy reigns, a genius who does not fit into the usual framework.

To create this effect in 1908-1910 (Shklovsky has not formulated anything of his own yet) Drankov intuitively introduces cameramen into the frame, because it is necessary to draw the viewer's attention to the fact that something unusual, strange and unusual is fixed by them, Drankov and the film crew, as visual evidence of this curiosity.

It seems that Alexander Yagelsky has the same effect born accidentally and involuntarily he does not shoot cameramen intentionally, but their presence in the frame also gives rise to a sense of detachment the ritual of royal ceremonies was practically incomprehensible to most mass viewers and completely unusual.

After decades, the entire space of historical newsreels is perceived in a detached way. Her entire on-screen reality becomes strange precisely because the time distance makes these preserved pictures of existence unusual for us and not even always understandable. This applies to a variety of plots and events, filming a variety of circumstances and facts.

To a large extent, this applies to the "royal newsreel", which captures the diverse ritual of all kinds of ceremonies with the participation of the Tsar and the August personages. Nowadays, these pictures of ritual actions are perceived as something too exotic and theatrical, as deliberate actions devoid of any meaning, since the original sacred meaning is not read and is lost for the modern viewer.

The same applies to the life of the so-called high society circles, whose images are so rare in pre-revolutionary newsreels. But the preserved film "The Charity Flower Festival in Yalta, organized by E.I.V. Empress Alexandra Feodorovna on May 14, 1912" (Russian State Archive of Film and Photographic Documents - RGAKFD Uch. 944), contains just such an image. Cuts of this film have been preserved in the RGAKFD Uch. 2016. On the Yalta embankment, among the shops of the charity bazaar, ladies dressed in elaborate silk dresses, gentlemen in bowler hats and gentlemen officers gathered, bored with idleness and therefore preferring to open bottles of champagne and drink to the health of the August family. The behavior of people in the frame is somewhere on the verge between routine and ritual all because the holiday itself and the charity bazaar take place without the admission of random strangers, only for the elite and in the presence of the Empress herself and her children.

Needless to say, the modern viewer perceives the on-screen reality of this film as something very special, as if watching some kind of stage scene with a costumed performance, the action of which is in dire need of decoding.

The same impression is made by the scenes filmed during the races at various racetracks, although the audience in the stands is more diverse. And yet these people, ladies in exotic outfits and hats, the very manner of behavior fascinates with its strangeness.

But even if you watch an ordinary kind of film of that time, for example, the 1911 film "Rostov the Great and his shrines" (RGAKFD Uch. 1011), we will discover for ourselves all the same strangeness and strangeness of screen reality. The dilapidated walls and temples of the Rostov Kremlin, the desolation on the street and the pandemonium in the city bazaar, which is filled with ordinary commoners, look strange we see a mass of people in their wildness and darkness. We clearly understand that these are the very people from whom we all came, but it is very difficult for us to come to terms with their appearance and appearance.

This is the effect of detachment inherent in historical newsreels, which arose by itself over time, and allows you to perceive this newsreel more clearly and with more vividness, gazing intently at each individual frame.

Why should a modern viewer now watch the same pre-revolutionary newsreel? After all, everything in the world has changed, the perception of the world itself has changed, because the context of historical time has changed, and we look greedily at those pictures of existence and are amazed at what we see. Because the effect of detachment works we see people like us on the screen, except that they are dressed in a wonderful way, we see different objects and objects, and this whole screen world lives and breathes, interacts with each other, although in fact it's just shadows, ghosts the whole screen world that appears before us Nami, the ghostly one. And it fascinates to the point of passion, to the point of self-forgetfulness. Because by forgetting, we endow these ghosts with the objectivity of existence.

What was the typical perception of newsreels by the audience of the early twentieth century? On the screen, he saw something unknown to himself, which amazed, amused and entertained him, and the screen helped him identify certain political figures and representatives of the elites of different countries. But the behavior patterns of on-screen characters were familiar to the viewer at that time. The breath of historical time was indistinguishable to him.

When old newsreels without titles are currently being viewed in the film archive, such an action cannot do without experts and knowledgeable people viewing old newsreels without commentary and explanation is extremely difficult and does not lead to successful attribution of what they saw. Some screen impressions may be banal in nature due to the banality of screen objects and not cause any emotion. Something shown on the screen escapes understanding due to its complete unrepresentability, that is, the unrepresentability of its role and meaning. For example, elements of a ritual common in everyday life at the beginning of the twentieth century, or elements of a ceremony at the Russian Imperial Court.

But now it is very noticeable and literally stunning that very breath of historical time, which was indistinguishable for the pre-revolutionary viewer. Even the most insignificant movement of a ghostly character of the early twentieth century makes us hold our breath and experience shock. However, to achieve such an adequate level of perception requires the skill and habit of emotionally looking at the irretrievably disappeared. That is, studium should be available to the viewer as a mode of perception of the film image, as Barth defines it for photography [6].

When watching an old movie, the modern viewer completely calmly perceives the tricks and tricks of Melies, but is shocked and affected by the fluttering of leaves in the wind in the old Lumiere tape.

The pictures of the historical existence of pre-revolutionary Russia for a modern person are mythologized, not factual. Due to its incompleteness and changing worldviews, screen reality becomes a myth, not a fact. And a myth is a subject of cognition of reality in a far from reliable way.

In the 1920s, Vertov, Eisenstein and Shub, with the help of their film opuses, sought to model a new life, which the proletarian viewer had to look up to. Nowadays, this avant-garde cinema is mythologized in the eyes of the viewer.

Pre-revolutionary cinema did not at all seek to model existence in any form of life. For simple non-fiction films with a linear narrative, reportage leading to documentalism was the defining principle. Nevertheless, the Tsar's newsreel was mythical because of its material. And now the entire pre-revolutionary newsreel for the modern viewer is riddled with myths of a detached nature.

Therefore, the historical knowledge of pre-revolutionary life through archival newsreels is accompanied by the introduction of mythologized ideas.

The on-screen reality of archival (historical) newsreels is a myth that defines our historical memory. That is why we agree to complement this myth with those pictures of screen reality that we perceive through historical feature films. From the point of view of mythicality, the viewer does not feel much difference between the myth of a non-fiction pre-revolutionary newsreel and the myth of a modern feature film dedicated to the pre-revolutionary time. From the point of view of the perception of those and other films by the viewer, they are equal.

It remains only to say that historical photography is also filled with mythical ideas about historical reality.

Conclusion

With the advent of cinema, photography became moving. This led to the fact that the mass audience in the cinema got the opportunity to catch the very breath of life on the screen. In the sense that the illusion of a movie screen became indistinguishable in comparison with real life off the screen. On-screen reality became life itself.

Cinema, in comparison with photography, has brought to the screen the main quality of visuality photogeny, which does not have an absolutely adequate verbal description. And in this sense, cinema began to possess properties that are fundamentally impossible for photography, although both photography and cinema are similar to the mirror image of the surrounding world.

Over time, becoming a detached picture of a historical reality that has been lost forever, the cinema screen becomes the only visual source for identifying this reality, acquiring mythical qualities at the same time. That is, there is a gap between screen reality and real life. Documentaries and newsreels are not impartial video fixators of existence with the reproduction of the totality of life. They reproduce this existence on the screen fragmentally, selectively, in an artistically processed form, that is, in the form of a myth.

Only by trying to take into account the gap that has arisen as objectively as possible, one can try to come to an assessment of how much screen reality corresponds to the genuine total reality of the historical past.

The viewer can only trust the pictures shown, checking, perhaps, with the available historical sources of a verbal nature, which, due to the fundamental difference between the verbal language and the film language of a continuous nature, are not suitable for a total, holistic interpretation of film images.

References
1. Sontag, S. (2021). About photography. Moscow: Ad Marginem Press.
2. Smorodina, V. A. (2000). Documentary photography in Russian illustrated publications during the First World War (1914-1917). Doct. Diss. Sankt-Peterburg.
3. Ballash, B. (1925). Visible man. Moscow: Vserossiyskii Proletcult.
4. Gorky, M. (1896). Cinematograph Lumière. Nizhegorodskii listok, 4th Jul.
5. Bulgakova, O. L. (1993). LEF and cinema. Kinovedcheskii zapiski, 18, 165-197.
6. Bart, R. (2016). Camera lucida. omment to the photo. Moscow: Ad Marginem Press.
7. Izvolov, N. A. (2005). inema phenomenon. Moscow: Materik.
8. Mikhaylov, V. P. (1998). Stories about the cinema of old Moscow. Moscow: Materik.
9. Salnikova, E. V. (2012). Visual phenomenon. Ancient origins to the beginning of the 21st century: monograph. Moscow: Progress-Traditsiya.
10. Ustyugova, V. V. (2016). “Cinematography of attractions” and its spread in the Russian provinces at the turn of the 19th–20th centuries. Vestnik Nizhegorodskogo universiteta im. N.I. Lobachevskogo, 4, 91-100.
11. Yangirov, R. M. (2011). Other cinema: Articles on the history of Russian cinema of the first third of the twentieth century. Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie.
12. Grashchenkova, I. N., & Fomin, V. I. (2022). History of Russian cinematography (1896-1940). Moscow: Kanon+ ROOI “Reabilitatsiya”.
13. Nedel, A. Yu. (2024). Intimate ideology. Text, cinema, circus in Russian culture of the twentieth century. Monograph. Saint Petersburg: Aleteya.
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15. Flusser, V. (2008). For the philosophy of photography. Saint Petersburg: St. Petersburg University Publishing House. 
16. Youngblood, Denise J. (1999). The Magic Mirror: Moviemaking in Russia: 1908-1918. Madison. 
17. Chefranova, Oksana. (2012). “The Tsar and The Kinematograf: Film as History and The Chronicle of the Russian Monarchy”. Beyond the Screen: Institutions, Networks and Publics of Early Cinema. Ed. Marta Braun, Charlies Keil, Rob King, Paul Moore and Louis Pellerir. Herts, 63-70.

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The subject of the study in the article submitted for publication in the journal "Man and Culture" under the heading "Photography and pre-revolutionary cinema" is extremely difficult to determine. Firstly, the level of generality of the title deprives it of any informative value: there is no indication of either the object, the subject, or the problem of the study. This kind of generalization, in principle, is acceptable in the title, but requires mandatory explanations in the introduction of the article, since it looks like a narrative indicating to readers that they know absolutely nothing about photography and pre-revolutionary cinema, which does not imply interest in the article by the scientific community represented by experts involved in photography and cinema. In other words, without decoding in the text of the article, such a title is not scientific. Secondly, in the introduction, the author does not address the scientific community, but some observant people who have discovered something there, either in some kind of photograph or in the history of mankind. The complete absence of any intelligible research program in the introduction gives reason to doubt that the article is a narrative about the results of scientific research. This, in turn, again denies the interest of scientists in the article. Thirdly, the subject of the author's interest cannot be detected by analyzing the goals and objectives of the study due to the lack of articulation in the article. Some hint of the reason that prompted the author to submit his essay to a scientific journal gives a "Conclusion", framed in the form of some semblance of conclusions. However, in fact, the presented conclusions can hardly be considered the results of scientific research: rather, they are paradoxical fabrications, oxymorons for the amusement of the intellectual public. The author simply combines untrue judgments with banal statements. First, the author claims: "Having created a mirror image of the surrounding reality, with the advent of cinema, photography became moving. This led to the fact that the mass audience in the cinema got the opportunity to catch the very breath of life on the screen," exposing either their own ignorance or an attempt to mislead the reader. The stated thesis is unequivocally false both on formal and substantive grounds. Photography did not create a mirror image of the surrounding reality, although it was the result of engineers searching for a technology to preserve the similarity of mirroring real objects. Photography as an artifact has become a document (photographic document), which is characterized by both specific features (the need to interpret the content) and specific ones, which were mentioned in the analytical part of the narrative, which were not reflected in the final judgment. The author's allusion to the winged expression of the late 19th century, defining cinema as a moving photograph, is not a sufficient basis for the subsequent metaphorical judgment that "the mass audience in the cinema got the opportunity to catch the very breath of life on the screen" due to the absence of the author's definition of "breath of life" in the text of the narrative. Secondly, in addition to the controversial author's term "detachment", the author's second conclusion is clearly contradictory: "Over time, becoming a detached picture of a historical reality lost forever, the screen became the only visual source for identifying this reality, acquiring mythical qualities at the same time. Since there are no means to verify screen reality for its authenticity, the viewer can only trust the pictures shown, taking into account, perhaps, the available historical sources of a verbal nature, which are not suitable for interpreting the cinematic properties and qualities associated with photogeny." If "there are no means to verify screen reality for its authenticity," then on what grounds is the author trying to judge the degree of gap between the content of a film document and historical reality? This key paradox denies the scientific nature of the presented result. Thus, the subject of the study has not been formulated by the author and, as a result, has not been studied, which does not imply the possibility of publishing the text submitted for review in a scientific journal. The research methodology has clearly not developed into a complete complex. Meanwhile, the author is trying to introduce a new term ("detachment"), which, according to the reviewer, has some heuristic potential. And although it is difficult to consider this innovation justified in the context presented by the author, it still deserves attention. Of course, due to the violation of the norms of the Russian language and the intuitive (implicit and unreflected) use of it, the new term remains controversial. But the author's idea that the "detachment" of photo and film documents over time has the property of accumulation attracts attention. In this sense, the Russian word "detachment" (from "strange outsider") does not fully reflect the author's thought. "Detached" is rather a derivative of "became strange unusual", "dressed acquired" strangeness/ strangeness. And this strangeness, despite the ordinariness of the shooting objects (especially in a photo report or newsreel), increases over time: the further in the past the object of the photo and film document turns out to be, the less, in the author's opinion, its connection with the content of the document. This idea finds its support in modern studies of photogeny and film semiotics. And such a property of a photo-film document, indeed, is one of the urgent problems of modern science. The author did not explain the relevance of the chosen research topic in a reasoned manner. The author's manner of telling about his own subjective feelings of reality did not allow him to discover aspects of the initial period of the spread of photography and cinematography in Russia that were really significant for science and society. Although there is no doubt that the initial stage of the emergence and development of these technological forms of art is of great interest due to the increasing displacement of the principle of self-improvement and transformation of the artist himself through art by the latest technologies from the sphere of artistic creativity. The scientific novelty in the presented text is implicit. The reviewer notes that in the case of providing the presented material with scientific and methodological tools, individual author's insights can take the finished form of a scientific result. The style of the author's text is difficult to consider scientific, primarily due to the imbalance of theoretical and everyday vocabulary, the dominance of numerous metaphors over the logical certainty of concepts and categories. Some of the author's statements are so metaphorical that they contradict reality (for example, "In the history of mankind, the appearance of an adequate mirror print of the surrounding reality photography - led to the fact that a person immediately got used to perceiving and feeling this reality not only with his own eyes, but also with the help of a sufficiently high-quality copy of it, which, as it turned out, never appeared to her adequate (for example, the first black-and-white copies could not be adequate to the color world in any way)", "In the photo you can see the smallest details down to the hairs on the head of some bug", "Newsreels in those years were perceived rather as one of the elements of entertainment for the public, what was cinema in general then", "the ritual of royal ceremonies is outlandish and completely unusual to the Russian philistine of that time", "Because, forgetting, we endow these ghosts with blood and flesh", etc.). If the author intends to refine his essay to the level of a scientific article, the style of the narrative should be scrupulously worked on, getting rid of unnecessary epithets and metaphors in favor of unambiguity and the logic of judgments. The structure of the article formally corresponds to the logic of scientific research, but the content of the structural sections is far from the rigor of the implementation of the research program. The bibliography represents a problematic area of research very limited (few publications in the last 3-5 years, there is no analysis of relevant foreign scientific literature for the same period, although it is framed without critical violations of editorial requirements.
The appeal to opponents in the text is very limited: the author does not enter into a theoretical discussion, appealing now to some observant people, then to unnamed "different researchers". Such a liberty is unacceptable in the scientific literature. As presented, the interest of the readership of the magazine "Man and Culture" in the article is not guaranteed. At the same time, noting some interesting insights from the author on a number of topical issues, the reviewer recommends that the author continue his research and hone the narrative style of the planned publication.

Second Peer Review

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The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The author submitted his article "Photography and pre-revolutionary non-fiction cinema" to the magazine "Man and Culture", which provides an overview of the properties of photographic and film art of the early twentieth century and their impact on people's perception of the surrounding reality. The purpose of this study is a comprehensive study of the features of the pre-revolutionary funeral ceremony and the transformation of rituals during the transition to a new society after 1917. The article does not contain an introduction in which the author should have stated the essence of the problem. Unfortunately, the article also lacks a theoretical component, which should contain information about the relevance of the study. The author has not analyzed the scientific validity of the problem, which makes it difficult to make assumptions about scientific novelty. As a methodological justification, the author uses both general scientific methods (analysis and synthesis, observation, description) and cultural-historical, functional and comparative analysis. The empirical material was archival photos and film materials. The author considers the features and functions of photography in stages, describes its aesthetic and communicative component. The article presents the following methods of presenting visual material reflecting different aspects of the life of the Russian Empire: illustrated magazines and weeklies, photo reports. The illustrated weekly, which was published in huge circulation, organized a vision of the world for the reader. At the same time, it was always structurally designed and helped to navigate the diversity of events. Comparing photography and cinematography, the author notes the great popularity of the latter due to its entertainment, mobility and accessibility. Focusing on the communicative function, the author notes that the canon of presentation and dissemination of information developed by mass periodicals in the face of illustrated weeklies has been adopted in many of its qualities by non-fiction cinema, especially film magazines. The author notes the mythological and ideological component of newsreels of the early twentieth century, especially those that covered events related to the monarchy. In conclusion, the author does not present a conclusion on the conducted research, which should contain all the key provisions of the presented material. The material contained in the section "Conclusion" is a continuation of the text of the article. It seems that the author in his material touched upon relevant and interesting issues for modern socio-humanitarian knowledge, choosing a topic for analysis, consideration of which in scientific research discourse will entail certain changes in the established approaches and directions of analysis of the problem addressed in the presented article. The results obtained allow us to assert that the study of the specifics of displaying the surrounding reality and the peculiarities of perception of this information by representatives of various historical periods is of undoubted theoretical and practical cultural interest and can serve as a source of further research. Nevertheless, the material presented in the work has a clear, logically structured structure that contributes to a more complete assimilation of the material. An adequate choice of methodological base also contributes to this. However, the bibliographic list of the study consists of only 10 sources and includes a small number of scientific works directly, which seems to be clearly insufficient for generalizing and analyzing scientific discourse on the issues under study. The author fulfilled his goal, received certain scientific results that allowed him to summarize the material. It should be stated that the article may be of interest to readers and deserves to be published in a reputable scientific publication after these shortcomings have been eliminated.

Third Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The subject of the article "Photography and pre-revolutionary non-fiction cinema" is, as the author himself notes, "the study of the essential properties of photography and non-fiction cinema in their comparison with each other." The relevance of the article is extremely high, since there is a certain shortage of research in Russian art criticism devoted to the art of cinema in its historical development. The article has an undoubted scientific novelty and meets all the criteria of a genuine scientific work. The author's methodology is very diverse and includes an analysis of a wide range of sources. The researcher skillfully uses comparative historical, descriptive, analytical, etc. methods in all their diversity. The study, as we have already noted, is distinguished by its obvious scientific presentation, content, thoroughness, and clear structure. The author's style is characterized by originality and logic, accessibility and high culture of speech. It is difficult to determine the most attractive thing in this work it can be its well-structured structure and analyzed historical details to the smallest detail, as well as a brilliant ability to draw conclusions, both intermediate and final. The author divides the study into chapters: "Features of photography and cinematography; Mass audience and cinemas; Pre-revolutionary newsreels and the effect of exclusion." The brilliant knowledge of the researcher in a variety of fields is obvious: "In the cinema, a narrative begins, based on the film language, which organizes speech the screen reality transmits, broadcasts a certain message. The viewer is captured not only by the unprecedented spectacle itself, not only by the magic of the revived reality, he is fascinated by the decoding of screen reality, recognizing circumstances similar to those familiar to him from his personal experience and collective ideas. The canon of presentation and dissemination of information, developed by mass periodicals in the face of illustrated weeklies, has been adopted in many of its qualities by non-fiction cinema, especially film magazines. The newsreel began with some kind of officiousness it could be a visit of the Sovereign to another country or, conversely, the arrival of a foreign guest in Russia. It is not necessary that it was an August person, it is enough that it was the arrival of the king of poets Paul Faure from France. Then there could be various protocol ceremonies and events: military maneuvers, the opening of a monument, an anniversary exhibition, then there were horse races at the racetrack, incredible climatic phenomena, fires, disasters, and at the end aviator flights, car races and Parisian fashions. Chronicle films have adopted the same manner. There were certainly films of official content, films about outstanding people and bright events, as well as everyday sketches and just pictures of life. Sometimes films were shot according to a pre-thought-out plot with deliberately staged episodes demonstrating not just a certain fact, but the whole process in an expanded form." He perfectly describes the smallest details of some films, for example: "The same applies to the life of the so-called high society circles, whose images are so rare in pre-revolutionary newsreels. But the preserved film "The Charity Flower Festival in Yalta, organized by E.I.V. Empress Alexandra Feodorovna on May 14, 1912" (Russian State Archive of Film and Photographic Documents - RGAKFD Uch. 944), contains just such an image. Cuts of this film have been preserved in the RGAKFD Uch. 2016. On the Yalta embankment, among the shops of the charity bazaar, ladies dressed in elaborate silk dresses, gentlemen in bowler hats and gentlemen officers gathered, bored with idleness and therefore preferring to open bottles of champagne and drink to the health of the August family. The behavior of people in the frame is somewhere on the verge between routine and ritual all because the holiday itself and the charity bazaar take place without the admission of random strangers, only for the elite and in the presence of the Empress herself and her children." All this not only gives the reader a general idea of the movie, but immerses him in the specific features of this genre. Or: "But even if you watch an ordinary kind of film of that time, for example, the 1911 film Rostov the Great and His Shrines (RGAKFD Uch. 1011), we will discover for ourselves all the same strangeness and strangeness of screen reality. The dilapidated walls and temples of the Rostov Kremlin, the desolation on the street and the pandemonium in the city bazaar, which is filled with ordinary commoners, look strange we see a mass of people in their wildness and darkness." The bibliography of this study is extensive and versatile, includes many different sources on the topic, domestic and foreign, made in accordance with GOST standards. The appeal to the opponents is presented to a wide extent, performed at a highly scientific level. In addition, the author engages in creative interaction with colleagues. The researcher draws extensive and serious conclusions, here are just some of them: "With the advent of cinema, photography has become moving. This led to the fact that the mass audience in the cinema got the opportunity to catch the very breath of life on the screen. In the sense that the illusion of a movie screen became indistinguishable in comparison with real life off the screen. On-screen reality became life itself. Cinema, in comparison with photography, has brought to the screen the main quality of visuality photogeny, which does not have an absolutely adequate verbal description. And in this sense, cinema began to possess properties that are fundamentally impossible for photography, although both photography and cinema are like a mirror image of the surrounding world." This remarkable study is of great interest to different segments of the audience as a specialized, professional-oriented study of cinema (art historians, film practitioners, etc. arts, students, teachers, etc.), and for all those who are interested in art. It will undoubtedly bring practical benefits to anyone who gets acquainted with it.