Born in 1910 in Alexandria, Ukraine, Naum Granovsky (1910-1984) began working in photography at the age of sixteen as a laboratory assistant at the Russian News Agency TASS in Moscow. At the young age of twenty-one, he joined the Soyuzfoto agency as head of the press department for mass production of prints. In 1934, he transitioned to the IzoGiz State Publishing House of Fine Art.
Throughout Granovsky’s career, from the 1930s through the 1980s, his primary subject was Moscow, and the industrial, architectural, and social changes that swept the city throughout the twentieth century — from the rapid growth of the city in the 1930s, to the defense of the city during World War II, to its reconstruction and transformation in the post-war period. Granovsky’s style combined aspects of traditional pictorial photography with avant-garde perspectives and techniques, and is characterized by precise and rigorous compositions. His work shows an ongoing interest in transportation in all its forms: from the construction of the Metro and the individual character of its stations to the varied traffic that increasingly filled the streets and bridges of Moscow as the decades passed. He often worked from a high vantage point, enabling him to capture large swaths of the city in a single frame; frequently, a wide street or avenue recedes way to a single vanishing point, peppered with vehicles and pedestrians and lined with Soviet skyscrapers or apartment blocks.
Granovsky survived the purging of Jewish photographers from TASS during the anti-Semitic campaign that began after World War II under Stalin, and he continued photographing his beloved city of Moscow until his death in 1984.
Granovsky was highly esteemed and respected during his lifetime. His work continues to be shown in group and solo exhibitions in Russia, Europe, and the United States, including a solo exhibition in 2004 at the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, titled “Naum Granovsky: Moscow 1930-1970." However, his vintage photographs remain extremely rare. The photographs in our collection have survived due to the fact that they were exhibited in the US before World War II.