He was passionate about photography beginning in his childhood. He built his first childhood camera with his grandmother’s glasses. At nineteen, he began working with the Soviet press agency TASS as a photographer. He remained with TASS until 1949 when was fired due to the anti-semitism that was growing in the Soviet state. He worked for the next ten years as a private freelance photographer. In 1959, he went to work for the newspaper Pravda where he stayed until he was forced into retirement in 1970.
“While Khaldei frequently staged or manipulated his photographs, he insisted that this was to signify the importance and add strength to a particular event. His work was also admired by the elites of the Soviet Union and he is renowned for creating commissioned portraits for State leaders such as Joseph Stalin, Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin.”