Aleksandr Rodchenko made use of unusual bold perspectives to depart from established visual habits. Here he photographed a trumpet player at such a steep angle from below and such close proximity that the composition takes on a downright bizarre quality. For Rodchenko, photography always had an added illustrative value, and his photos accordingly lent themselves well to the needs of Socialistoriented magazines such as Novy LEF (New Left Front of the Arts). He was well-known in Russia and abroad: his works were on view, for example, in the major international German Werkbund exhibition Film and Foto taking place in Stuttgart in 1929. He wanted them to contribute to the cultural establishment of the Soviet Union, as he himself avowed in public: ‘The lens of the camera is the pupil of the eye of the cultured man in socialist society.’ Already by 1930, however, his photos no longer conformed to the aesthetic conventions of the Soviet Union. His shot of a man blowing a trumpet was criticized for omitting the narrative element in favour of an emphasis on the motif’s formal qualities. In fact, this work triggered the so-called ‘Formalism dispute’ that ultimately led to Rodchenko’s exclusion from all official functions.