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Churov Shares Election Photo Tips

Russia’s elections head teaching journalists to photograph a ballot box. Denis Sinyakov

Despite withering criticism for turning a blind eye to vote-rigging allegations, Russia's top elections official mentored photographers from leading media outlets Tuesday on how to take pictures at polling stations.

Vladimir Churov, head of the Central Elections Commission and an amateur photographer since the age of 4, warned against showing voters' documents and faces as well as voters marking their ballots inside the voting booth.

He also offered tips on taking scene shots at the voting precincts. His presentation was aided by some electoral props.

The ballot box was transparent, an innovation introduced for the upcoming presidential election as a means of preventing fraud.

"If a ray of sunlight falls at a certain angle on the semitransparent ballot box when it still has few ballot papers, we see a very rare optical phenomenon, very beautiful," Churov said, according to Interfax. "You can get an artistic shot."

Several media organizations, including state television's Channel One and NTV, posted videos of the class, which was held in the hall of the Central Elections Commission.

Apart from photography, Churov is keen on history, military history and the history of architecture.

He is not the only prominent Russian political figure who can skillfully wield a camera, however.

President Dmitry Medvedev and Sergei Yastrzhembsky, former aide to president Boris Yeltsin, have made photography their hobby.

A photo of the Tobolsk Kremlin taken by Medvedev on his personal camera was sold at a charity auction in St. Petersburg in January 2010 for 51 million rubles ($1.7 million).

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