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Sergei Gavrilovich Shimansky (1898-1972) was born in Galicia in the town of Suwalki (present-day Poland) to the family of an assistant rector of the temple. From 1914 to 1920, he finished the school studies in Vladimir and moved to Kharkiv where he was drafted by the Red Army to fight in the Civil War.

In 1922 Shimansky entered the Kharkiv State Institute of National Economy. After graduating from the institute, he worked in the famous Makarenko children’s commune teaching street children, who were left homeless, the art of photography, as well as caring for and repair of photographic equipment. Based on this commune, the famous Kharkiv FED camera (known as Soviet Leica) plant was created.

Shimansky began his career as a photojournalist in 1924 when he joined the Ukranian photography agency, UKROFOTOTREST. In 1929, he held his first art exhibition in Kharkiv. Included in the exhibition were photographs he took during the expeditions to the Central Asian mountain range Tian’ Shan’. Shimansky captured on film the virgin nature and the heroic work of its researchers. In the highlands of Khan Tengri Peak Shimansky was testing a new FED camera. It was the photographs from these expeditions that brought Shimansky first fame.

In 1935, Shimansky relocated to Kyiv, where he worked on a photography book of the city for Iskusstvo publishing house. After completing this project, Shimansky became a freelance photojournalist, contributing his work to USSR in Construction and a variety of sports publications. In 1937 he published the book “Photo While Traveling,” which was a photography manual outlining specific techniques for taking and processing photographs while traveling.

Since 1940, Sergei Shimansky has been working in Moscow at the invitation of the Exhibition Committee for the preparation of the New York Art and Photographic Exhibition. Shimansky’s photographs were a part of the New York World’s Fair in 1939 and 1940. At the time he also reported on the achievements in agriculture for the Soviet news agency TASS.

In addition to his photographs of the agriculture and ethnography of the Soviet Union, Shimansky served as an important war photographer in both the Finnish War (1939-1940) and World War II. His materials were published in the Northern Fleet newspaper Krasnoflotets and the newspaper Red Fleet by TASS Photo Chronicle. In March 1943, Shimansky became a special photo correspondent for the Ministry of the USSR Navy Fleet, he traveled to photograph Leningrad under the siege, as well as Berlin, Riga, and Budapest.

After WW II, in 1947 Shimansky worked in the Main Office for the Protection of Architectural Monuments. He continued to photograph and exhibit his photographs of Leningrad, Central Asia, and the Baltics. His photographs were published in the series Architectural Monuments in Art Photography and were published in the sets of photo postcards.