HOW THE BOOK WAS CREATED

As fate would have it, this unique book dedicated to camera industry in USSR had appeared in Belarus. Its authors are Sergey Kochergin, Viktor Suglob and Grigoriy Shaternik. Viktor Suglab had become the soul of this creative team - a professional photographer and a camera collector. Together with Grigoriy Shaternik he had created the only private museum-gallery in Belarus - "Mir Foto". A unique personal collection of Viktor Suglob contains more than 1000 photo cameras, which include the rarest experimental pieces like "Zenit-ETm", "Vizit", incredibly rare camera "Almaz-102-250", as well as "Zenit- AM"(BelOMO), "Zenit-ll"(from the 4,5,6,11 series), "Photosniper" (BelOMO).

The authors had dedicated almost 10 years to the search and cataloguing of Soviet photographic equipment. This was the time of much travel and meetings with collectors from Minsk, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Kharkov as well as acquaintances with camera designers and people collecting photographic equipment.

That is how the material was researched for the book, and the camera collection of Soviet and Russian cameras was growing into most likely the biggest one in former USSR and even maybe in all of Europe.

Viktor Suglob, back in 1990s had met with the French photographer named Valia Ouvrier. The first time they had met at the ski resort in Mineralaniye Vody. Valia Ouvrier had attended school in USSR in the past and had spoken fluent Russian. He had told Viktor about his friend and colleague in the field - Jean Loup Princelle and had initiated Viktor into their grandiose plans. The Frenchmen were preparing the release of the book "300 Leica copies". Viktor as a responsive and interested person in this endeavor had readily offered his help. As a result, when the book was published in 1990, there was a lot of material included in the book provided by Viktor Suglob.

When he had met Jean Loup Princelle in Paris, Jean Loup had told him about his next idea: he is preparing the publication of the catalog "MADE IN USSR. The Authentic Guide to Russian end Soviet Cameras". Viktor had offered his help once again.

Sometimes the search for materials in Former USSR conveyed feeling of a mystery novel. In such a clandestine way, thanks to Suglob's friend - Viktor Sirosh, he was able to get into Kharkov's FED factory, known for making the "FED" cameras. They informed the administration of their visit but no one had apparently alerted the security. So here is Viktor, walking the factory grounds, carrying two reproduction cameras. From the security personnel's point of view he looked like a spy. The security suddenly jumped him, beat him up and were about to hand cuff him, while almost breaking his arms, it's when they got a call from "above". "It happens" he was told unapologetically, "the installation is mostly classified".

This famous in Soviet times factory was based on a juvenile colony headed by the renowned educator Anton Makarenko. Viktor Suglob had a lucky chance to

meet one of the former teachers of the colony, who later became a designer of cameras "FED-2", "FED-2 Stereo", "Zarya"( 1,2,3) - Dimitry Umrikhin. The camera designer had shared some of his memories: During the war the factory was evacuated to Siberian town Berdsk. Among the factory workers there were some that did not want to be sent to the war front. To get themselves out of military service they had bribed the administration of the army draft office in the form of boar or moose meat in addition to a camera taken from the factory. Very often they would make a presentation engraving.

One of these cameras was donated to the "Mir Foto" museum by Dmitriy Umrikhin. This was a 1943 "FED" with engraving "MIK". Possibly this camera was made for the Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin - a chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of USSR.

Jean Loup Princelle's book was published in 1995 and immediately gained world recognition among collectors and photography lovers. In the second edition that was released in 2004, the author had wrote that the book was dedicated"... to my Russian friends that helped me sparing no effort..."

"If they can do it in Paris, why don't we publish our own catalog in Minsk?" - thought Viktor - "Especially when every forth camera in USSR was made here". There was little left but to find common-minded people. Soon such people had turned up.

Grigoriy Shaternik became the second member of the team who was Viktor's business partner who had his doubts about the success of this endeavor. But what happened on Moscow's New Arbat (a popular arts and crafts district of Moscow) had convinced him otherwise: in a small Kiosk where they would sell rare cameras there was a book by Jean Loup Princelle. The seller quickly boasted that he knows the authors of that book very well, including Viktor Suglob. Viktor at that point had taken out his passport and showed it to him. The seller obviously felt extremely embarrassed and awkward. But the presence of this book on New Arbat had made a strong impression on Grigoriy.

In 1998 they had met Sergey Kochergin, a person very passionate about the history of camera industry in USSR and possessing a large collection of such cameras. This meeting had become a launching point in time for making the final decision on creating a detailed catalog.

Here's what Viktor had said about Sergey Kochergin: "He is like a gold miner, sifting through tons of unverified information to find a gold particle of the objective fact.". Without his meticulous and donnish work the creation of this catalog would not have been possible.

That is how the author team was formed. From this moment on they had started an actively accumulating the information and searching for rare and uncommon models.

In 2007 during a consequent visit with Jean Loup Princelle and Valia Ouvrier, Viktor had informed them about the collected materials and planned publication of the catalog of Soviet period photographic equipment (1929-1991). Both Frenchmen had fully supported this


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