About the Photo Collections
The SCRSS Photo Library holds over 60,000 images covering all
aspects of social and cultural life in Russia and the former Soviet
Union from pre-1917 to the present. It offers an invaluable visual
resource for publishers, picture researchers, designers and drama
students, and is backed up by the excellent SCRSS
Library and Archive.
The SCRSS Photo Library was established in 1943, when Britain
and the Soviet Union were allies in the fight against Nazism.
The war produced a galaxy of brilliant Soviet war photographers
whose pictures were sent to the Society for use in exhibitions
and fund-raising events to support the war effort. In the post-war
years the SCRSS Photo Library continued to receive photographs
from the Soviet Union on all aspects of Soviet life. It grew further
with the donation of the important Cicely Osmond and Huntly Carter
Collections covering the 1920s-30s. It also includes the Society's
own photographic archive.
Special Photographic Collections
These special photographic collections are open to researchers
by appointment. With the exception of the SCRSS Photo Archive,
they are fully digitised, but not available online. The Society
can provide publishers with low-resolution thumbnails by email
to aid selection. See Research
in the Photo Library below.
Cicely Osmond Collection
This important collection was received in the late 1980s. It
provides a detailed visual account of everyday life in the Soviet
Union during the 1920s-30s, with particularly rich material on
Soviet education and training. Find
out more about the collection.
Huntly Carter Collection
This important collection includes photographs of Soviet avant-garde
architecture, theatre productions and theatre design. Find
out more about the collection.
SCRSS Photo Archive
This collection holds the Society's own photographic record of
events and personalities from the 1940s to the present. Find
out more about the SCRSS Archive (including non-photographic
General Photographic Collection
The SCRSS's general photographic collection is in the process
of digitisation and is available online through TopFoto at www.topfoto.co.uk.
However, if you can't find what you need, please contact the SCRSS
direct for advice.
The general collection covers a wide range of themes. It includes
images of early collective agriculture, industry, education (such
as Makarenko's famous school for juvenile delinquents) and daily
life in the new Soviet state. There are photographic records of
key historical events and individuals - from the Russian Revolution
to the raising of the Red flag over the Reichstag in 1945 and
the first moves into space. There is a wealth of material on cultural
life - from production photographs of the first performances of
Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk to portraits of
Anton Chekhov and his wife. Film, literature, ballet, Soviet posters,
the Tsarist period, sport, cities, regions and the republics of
the former Soviet Union are also all here.
Visiting the Photo Library
Research in the Photo Library
The SCRSS Photo Library is open to SCRSS members and non-members
on a research basis - by prior appointment.
See Research Fees, Terms and Conditions
on the SCRSS Library and Archive page. Note: Separate fees
apply for image reproduction.
Please contact the SCRSS for further
The SCRSS Photo Library is open by appointment only.
Office opening hours: Monday-Friday, 10.00-13.00 and 14.00-18.00.
Please note research opening hours in the SCRSS
Soviet Collections: Fees, Terms and Conditions sheet.