UDK 7.071.1



Patriarch of Saransk photography


Makhaev V. B.



The article deals with life and creative path of the photographer Valentin Sergeevich Krainov. It is no coincidence that he is called the patriarch of Saransk photography. Valentin Krainov began photographing the city of Saransk in the mid-1940s and continues to do so to these days. He has a rich collection of photographs that capture significant events in city life, almost every change in the architectural appearance of the city. Landscapes made by the photographer, portraits of famous citizens, picturesque views of cities, villages, monasteries of Mordovia are published in more than 100 photo albums. He passionately fond of traveling, has visited dozens of countries around the world. His photo trips began in the 1950s, when he led tour groups around Karelia. After that, he made many trips around the Soviet Union, and after the collapse of the “Iron Curtain” — across all continents of the earth. Valentin Krainov captured many interesting events and famous personalities. In 2015, he transferred his personal fund for safekeeping to the Central State Archive of the Republic of Mordovia. Today, it is one of the richest funds of personal origin with about 700 storage units. By the 90th anniversary of Valentin Sergeevich Krainov, his next photo album “Photo Chronicle of Saransk”, containing photographs of the city of the 1960s — 2000s which can help to follow how its architecture changed in Soviet times and in recent decades, was published. In addition, the album includes photos portraits of famous Saransk artists, musicians, writers, scientists and other extraordinary personalities who worked in the field of culture and science of Mordovia. V. S. Krainov is seriously concerned about the loss of the architectural appearance of Saransk. He stands for the preservation of historical and cultural heritage for next generations.


Keywords: photography, Saransk, architectural appearance, sights, travel


For citation: Makhaev VB. Patriarch of Saransk photography. Center and Periphery. 2023;18(1):108—114. EDN ESYZYZ




1. Krainov VS. Matrena Vasilyevna Kochubey: Myths and reality. Saransk;2004. (In Russ.)

2. Krainov VS. I am Saransk chronicler. Saransk: ideals and everyday life of the city culture. Proceedings of scientific readings. Saransk;2007:152—161. (In Russ.)

3. Makhaev VB. Soviet Saransk: 128 views of a provincial city of the Communist era. Saransk;2008. (In Russ.)

4. Saransk: the city and people in the lens. Saransk;2011. (In Russ.)


Information about the author:

Viktor B. Makhaev, Head of Research Department of the Mordovian Erzia Museum of Visual Arts (61 Kom­munisticheskaya Str., Saransk 430005, Russia); Advisor to the Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences, member of the National Committee of ICOMOS, Candidate of Art History, Associate Professor, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1014-5070, haus_maler@mail.ru


Conflict of interests: the author declares no conflict of interest.


The author has read and approver the final version of the manuscript.


The article was submitted 13.01.2023; accepted for public