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date: 30 March 2020

Karelin, Andrey (Osipovich)locked

(b Selezna, Tambov province, July 16, 1837; d Nizhny Novgorod, July 31, 1906).
  • Kevin Halliwell

Extract

(Osipovich)

(b Selezna, Tambov province, July 16, 1837; d Nizhny Novgorod, July 31, 1906).

Russian photographer, collector, painter and draughtsman. He was born into a peasant family, and he studied briefly as an icon painter before entering the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg in 1857. After graduating in 1864, he stayed in St Petersburg to learn photography, and he opened a portrait studio in Nizhny Novgorod in 1869. Like many of his colleagues at the Academy, he had worked as a retoucher of photographs for the sake of employment, and initially he regarded photography merely as material support. He gradually became more interested in the medium, however, especially in the decade 1875–85, when it supplanted his painting.

Karelin made many photographic portraits and genre studies, and he is important in both the technical and the aesthetic sense. His studio was larger than usual, with numerous windows, top lighting and glazed walls. He disdained the use of painted props, preferring instead to use real domestic furnishings. He was especially concerned to achieve a sharp focus in all fields in the photograph, and to this end he studied optics, independently realizing the connection between the focal length of the lens and the size of the aperture for depth of clarity. To achieve his ends he therefore introduced into portrait photography the use of additional diverging and converging lenses. He also managed, through the use of lenses, to overcome the more common distortions. This technical achievement gained him many gold medals at international photographic exhibitions in the 1870s and 1880s....

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