- Absolutely! Oleg had a private photo lab in his home, and people would approach him by word of mouth to take photographs of their families, artworks, and other subjects. This allowed him to see a lot of art while taking pictures for collectors and artists who wanted to share their work but didn't want to send the actual piece to an exhibition.
In the Soviet Union, photography was not easily accessible and required connections. So I would say my father was in a privileged position because a lot of people needed his services. By meeting a wide range of people from the artistic community, including top collectors, conservators, and artists, and having the opportunity to speak with them, he formed his taste and understanding of art and icons in particular.
I would like to stress that as a collector he focused on the aesthetic side rather than historical significance, which is rarely the case. Most often people build their collections around a specific time period, school, artistic movements, or location. As a result, such collections may lack one essential thing: beauty.