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    MOSCOW'S TRETYAKOV GALLERY TO HOST FIRST-EVER PHOTO EXHIBITION

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    MOSCOW, JANUARY 23, 2004, (RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT YELENA TITARENKO) -- A photo exhibition featuring masterpieces by three Moscow photographers, i.e. Leo Melikhov, Valery Sirovsky and Sergei Yastrzhembsky, is to open at the local Tretyakov picture gallery here today.

    The Tretyakov gallery has never hosted any photo exhibition before; as a matter of fact, photos were previously used to supplement the gallery's thematic displays alone. The museum's top managers now believe that photo exhibitions will make it possible to attract additional visitors because photography, which is often called the little sister of painting, was bound to win the sympathies of even die-hard conservatives sooner or later.

    The current exhibition deals with this planet's photos, i.e. those of its surface, which provides an unusual picture of this world.

    According to Melikhov, the exhibition's environmentalist concept emerged spontaneously when the three photographers saw that their feelings tended to intermingle. We are discussing one and the same subject, albeit with a different spiritual energy and in line with different styles, Melikhov noted.

    Leo Melikhov, who is a member of the Moscow Artists League, is the only professional photographer taking part in this display. Melikhov has already attended dozens of local, national and international exhibitions, also boasting more than 200 books and art catalogues, which were published in Russia, Western Europe and the United States.

    Diplomat and politician Sergei Yastrzhembsky, who took an interest in photography 20 years ago, learned a lot from Melikhov. In December 2003 Yastrzhembsky, who serves as the Russian President's aide, celebrated his 50-th birthday by opening his first personal exhibition in Moscow.

    For his own part, Valery Sirovsky graduated from the Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages, working as assistant film director and actor in the 1960s and the 1970s. Sirovsky, who became a serious photographer in the prime of life, successfully participates in international exhibitions at this stage.

    The Tretyakov gallery will become the starting point of an international tour involving Melikhov, Sirovsky and Yastrzhembsky. They intend to display their photos in several European countries over the 2004 period.

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