Arkady Samoylovich Shaikhet was at the beginning a locksmith apprentice at a shipyard in Nikolaiev where he was born. He came to Moscow in 1918. At first he worked in a photographic studio were he retouched images of others but in 1924 his career as a photojournalist started. He worked for Rabochaïa Gazeta and the weekly Ogonek/Ogoniok. He was a pioneer in a new style of documentary photography called " artistic reportage".
He became a member of the union of proletarian russian photographers (ROPF), a rival group of the other "October" founded by Aleksander Rodtchenko. Shaikhet favored a rigorous journalistic point of vue and his work was very sensitive to sociological problems. His images were at the frontier of documentary and artistic photography. In 1931 with two of his friends, M. Alpert and Sergueï Toules and also the editor in chief Mezhericher, he took 80 pictures in four days and called his series "24 hours in the life of the family Filippov, steelworker in the red proletarian factory of Moscow" These documents were published in the German magazine "Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (A.I.Z.) and then in the Russian magazine "USSR in Construction". They had a huge international impact.
In 1928 Shaikhet presented 30 images at the big exhibition "Ten years of Soviet photography" and won the first prize. In 1930 he helped Russian photojournalists show their work at the Camera Club in London. During the 30s he took a lot of images of the economical and social changes happening in his country. He followed the Turkestan–Siberian railway, that connects Central Asia and Siberia but also the first cars and tractors. He was a war reporter during World War II for the newspaper Frontavaïa Illioustratsia.