Born in 1905 in Moscow, Semyon Fridyland worked as a shoemaker from a young age. He was invited to Moscow to work as a photographic laboratory assistant for Ogonyok, the first Soviet illustrated weekly magazine, founded by his cousin Mikhail Koltsov, who was a well known journalist. Shortly, Fridyland began to take photographs, and his growing interest quickly turned into becoming a professional photojournalist. He worked for the agency Soyuzphoto, and then the magazines USSR in Construction and Pravda. Later he headed the photographic department at Ogonyok. Fridyland died in 1964.