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Boris Smelov

Boris Smelov was born March 13, 1951 in Leningrad. As a child engaged in painting. He studied at the mathematics school. Became interested in photography at the age of  10, he studied at the Palace of Pioneers from D. Ritov. Won prizes in children's competitions. Consciously started photographing at 17 of age. In 1968, at the photo club of Vyborg palace of culture met with Boris Kudryakov, who introduced him with Konstantin Konstantinovich Kuzminski. During this period, was fascinated by the St. Petersburg of Dostoyevsky. By the request of B. K. Kuzminski Smelov shot portraits of unofficial artists and writers. In 1970-1972 he studied in LITMO, in 1972 -1973 faculty of Journalism at LSU. In the early 1970s, in addition to the urban landscape, genre pictures and portraits B. Smelov started shooting still-life with objects of the old life of St. Petersburg, the love of which was inherited from hes grandmother. At that time he already had two cameras - «Leica», and «Rolleiflex». In those years, he did not have a personal lab so made and printed his photos in the darkroom of Leonid Bogdanov at the  DC "Pishevik". In 1974 he took part in the first exhibition of independent photography "Under the parachute”, in Constantine Kuzminsky’s apartment. Presented in this exhibition 27 photographs. Constantine Kuzminsky invented famous nicknames for Boris Smelov and his friend Boris Kudryakov, which stayed with them forever - Grand Boris (Kudryakov) and Petit-Boris (Smelov). In 1976 at the photo club of Vyborg DK B. Smelov as a creative report presented an exhibition of 34 photographs (portrait, landscape, genre, still life). The exhibition was closed on the following morning, there was a scandal. After this the leadership of the Viborg photo club was fully changed, and B. Smelov become if not a dissident, then otherwise-minded in the photography. In connection with this scandal any part in official exhibitions had become impossible, and therefore until the  Perestroika B. Smelov participated only in illegal apartment exhibitions. In 1977 he received a Gold Medal for a series of reportages on the 11th International salon of Photographic Art in Bucharest. During the perestroika B. Smelov started an intensive exhibition life. His exhibitions were held abroad in countries such as Great Britain, Germany, USA, Finland, Norway, etc. In 1991 he visited Washington, where he participated in the exhibition "The changing reality." In the 1990s, B. Smelov experimented with infrared film. B. Smelov died an absurd and tragical way on Vasilevsky Island January 18, 1998. He was buried January 24 at the Smolensk Orthodox Cemetery.

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