"As a Memento of Lviv": Creating Souvenirs of the City in Photography of the 1950s and 1960s

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Anastasiya Kholyavka

Center for Urban History

24.10.2023, 18:30

Conference Room of the Center for Urban History

We invite you to the lecture by Anastasiya Kholyavka, in which she will analyze the representations of cities, and Lviv in particular, in souvenir photographs of the Soviet period.

From the mid-1940s, souvenir photographs became widespread under the influence of military travel, and by the late 1950s, they acquired fanciful decorative forms and broader functions, namely as reminders, gifts, and means of communication.

In the photographs of the 1940s, only the signature on the studio's details indicated the city, and already in the 1950s, in several vignettes, cityscapes surrounded the portrait of a person. The genre of souvenir photographs combined a postcard, a cityscape, and a portrait. This composition was a compromise between the reflection of individual travel experiences and fashionable motifs of the time. The space of souvenir photographs was filled with elements that added a romantic, nostalgic touch and framed the personal travel experience with a representation of a certain mood. Since the templates for such souvenirs were common, they can probably be considered as a collective framework for constructing individual memories of visiting the city.

The techniques of creating souvenir photographs deserve special attention, as they demonstrate the development of photographers' capabilities.

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Anastasiya Kholyavka

Center for Urban History

A coordinator of the Urban Media Archive of the Center for Urban History, coordinator of “Café philosophique Lviv,” and a co-founder of the Kontur media. Anastasiya works on her thesis and explores the impact of cultural and social contexts on the design of mental care institutions.

The meeting will be held as part of the series of lectures on modernity experiences in Lviv entitled "Let's Have a City...".


Cover Image: a souvenir photograph from Lviv

Gallery: Iryna Sereda