Born in 1885, Alexander Grinberg is one of the most respected Russian photographers of the twentieth century. He experienced the Russian revolution, the Civil War, two world wars and Stalinist repression. He demonstrated a strong interest in photography from an early age, taking his first photograph at the age of ten. By the age of twenty-two, he was already an active member of the Russian photographic community, where he became a leading creative force. In 1908 he was awarded the silver medal in the All-Russian photo exhibition in Moscow and the gold medal in the international photo-exhibition in Dresden, this was the beginning of his international fame. In 1914 Grinberg was invited to work at the Khanzhankov film studio in Moscow. He went on to work behind the camera for numerous studios. In the 1920s, due to his cinematographic expertise, he became an instructor at the State Technical Institute of Cinematography. Here he began his association with Sergey Eisenstein, whom he photographed. His prestige was on the rise throughout the 1920s, until the early 1930s when under the storm of the cultural revolution, the pictorialist masters of Soviet photography came under fire as “depraved,” and Grinberg fell out of favor. The new cultural policy dictated that any eroticism in artistic forms was a remnant of bourgeois idleness, and inappropriate for Soviet society. Nevertheless, Grinberg risked one more exhibition of his work in 1935, displaying images of partially dressed women. This work raised a storm of criticism from the Soviet government and Grinberg was arrested and sentenced to a labor camp for distribution of pornography. His brother managed to save Grinberg’s negatives from destruction by the authorities. By 1939 he was released on early parole for good behavior and industriousness, although by that time he had permanently lost his sense of smell. He resumed his work as a photographer for a variety of institutions. After the second world war, Grinberg worked for a modeling agency, photographing for fashion designers. Later, in the 1950s, he made portraits of various famous Soviet actors and scientists. After devoting his whole life to photography, Alexander Grinberg died in 1979.