ALIKO ARUTYUNOV – PHOTOGRAPHER-SUMMER OF THE SOVIET EPOCH
Valery Sergeevich Arutyunov was born in Tbilisi in 1939. Its origin influenced the formation of a special mentality of the artist, allowed to absorb the culture of different nationalities. It mixed the Russian blood of the mother and the Armenian blood of the father.
At that time, Georgia was inhabited by different peoples, and the inhabitants of the capital generally considered the concept of “Tbilisi” or, in the old manner, “Tiflis” as an almost separate nationality. Mom Valeria was a philologist, and dad a history teacher. Back in school years, Arutyunov developed an interest in photography.
In difficult times, it was not easy to get equipment for shooting, the father’s teacher salary did not allow satisfying all the needs of children. Valiko bought magazines in which they printed pictures with images of cameras, which he could only dream of. The youth’s irresistible desire was rewarded, and at the age of 15 he had the coveted apparatus. He managed to buy from someone an old FED without a lens that “pulled” the film. Nevertheless, this was the beginning of his journey.
The engineer’s career, which his parents advised him, was not destined to take place. Passion for photography determined the future of Valiko. However, before that he had to try himself in another area – Arutyunov was a laborer at a Moscow airport construction site. Later, he managed to take the place of the head of the children’s photo studio, and then get a job at the Georgia-Film photographer.
Valery Sergeevich began working in photo business since 1965. In his labor, the magazines Rural Youth, Student Meridian, Television and Radio Broadcasting, Interlocutor, and Homeland were noted. Until 1988, he worked as a photojournalist, department head, chief artist. Arutyunov had an amazing ability to gather interesting, creative people around him. His leadership qualities allowed him to lead, be an authority and an example for many beginning talents. For his contribution to perestroika, he became a laureate of the prize of the Union of Journalists of the USSR. After the collapse of the Union, Valery Sergeyevich continued his career in his beloved business. Since 2000, he was a photo editor in the journal Persona, and since 2003, he took up the post of chief artist in the publishing house Zvezdny Boulevard.
Arutyunov was distinguished by some kind look at people, which allowed him to create amazing portraits. During his creative life, he collected a significant photo archive. Favorite artists and unknown people are forever captured there. In each photo, the viewer sees the internal component of a person, and not external ceremonial features. This shows the talent of the master. From the 50s to the 80s of the 20th century Valery Sergeevich carefully “collected material”. Now his exhibitions include the series “Classmates”, portraits of famous cultural figures and much more. Pictures of the great Maya Plisetskaya and a very young, difficult to recognize Alla Pugacheva; posing poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko and dining at the buffet Sophia Loren – all this is his property.
In 2015, the photobook “Was it a dream …”. The author himself described her genre as photographic memoirs. This is the best fit for what the reader sees on the pages. This is a photo story about life and work, about meetings with different people, masterfully supplemented by the author’s comments, stories, and a description of the context of each shoot.
Valery Arutyunov photographer
Arutyunov with warmth and nostalgia recalls his work in Soviet journalism. Despite the censorship, which certainly existed, an honest and talented person could find his niche and open up. Of course, there were both opportunists and those who “did not read, but condemned.” But there was a lot of good that was lost forever. During business trips, he managed to meet very different people, to visit many corners of “our vast Motherland.” And this pathos is appropriate here, because when shooting a sunset in the Pamirs or aurora in the Republic of Komi, you never feel its “immensity”. The maestro observes that something has changed in people now. Arriving at home in Tbilisi, he hardly finds out what he remembered from childhood. Houses, streets, nature – everything seems to be familiar, but people are different, look, gait is even different.
Valery Sergeevich complains that in the modern world the concept of “famous person, celebrity” has completely lost its former weight. Any party-goer who has enough money is popular, and the art of photography is completely worthless. Arutyunov recalls with trepidation how he worked with great people and how considerate, scrupulous and educated they were. The concept of self-censorship is almost absent in modern society. What is valuable is that it is “for sale,” and this is certainly not morality.
When asked by the maestro what inspires him now, to continue to create, then he unpretentiously admits: “Nature”. Valery Sergeyevich spends a lot of time outside the city, where he peers into the sky, admires the stars, listens to birds and rests with his soul. This is a useful recipe for everyone who is tired of the bustle of the metropolis, and even more so for creative natures who are constantly looking for harmony.